Trend: From Wellness Tech to Technological Wellness
We’re inundated with technology promising to make us well–whether it’s smart home gyms or wearable devices. We predict more people will grasp that what matters more is “technological wellness,” a movement that addresses how—and how often—we engage with technology at large: where we start to treat our digital intake like we do our food intake.
Between fitness wearables, smart home gyms, and futuristic sleep headbands, there is no shortage of technologies promising to make us well. But the truth is that most technologies—the technologies that make up the vast majority of our screen time—are harming our health, not helping it. Our screentime, and the number of wellness technologies, surged during the pandemic, and even as we emerge from it, so much more of our life–from work to working out–has been pushed online. The average person now spends about seven hours a day staring at screens. Where is any real wellness when we spend hours a day on Zoom meetings and doomscroll bad news and Instagram all night?
Our 2022 trend predicts a new kind of “technological wellness” will emerge: one that is less about buying another wellness app, wearable, or device, and more about putting health at the very center of how—and how often—we engage with technology in general.
Awareness is rising about the tech industry’s obsession with making things as addictive and “frictionless” as possible, keeping people strung along on their platforms: endless newsfeeds; one-click purchases; auto-play (when video and audio start automatically) that zaps us with endless dopamine hits; “live” functions that manufacture the idea that “you can’t miss this”; gamification mechanisms that keep egging you on; and algorithms that put the most polarizing, ugly content at the top. Awareness is rising that all of these addicting, frictionless experiences are about the almighty dollar: the more time we spend scrolling, the more ads are served, the more data is collected, and the more money flows into the pockets of Big Tech companies.
Our trend explored how the tide is now turning: how more research shows that this situation is trashing our mental health, how Big Tech is moving to right some of its wrongs, and how governments are cracking down on companies that engineered this avalanche of addictive, dangerous content. Since the trend was released in February, there has been much action.
READ MORE about some new moves in technological wellness:
• How more governments are cracking down, such as the UK, whose new legislation gets strict with social media companies enabling harmful online content and threatens to hit Facebook or TikTok with an up to $10 billion fine.
• How new social media apps such as BeReal (now growing like wildfire) are creating a space aimed at fighting all the performance, bragging and toxic beauty on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.
• How there are more grassroots “log off” movements rallying people to just turn it off.