Aza Raskin is widely credited for the creation of the infinite scrolling mechanism that’s been implemented on social media, and he’s been open about how it has regrettably turned into something that keeps people glued to their phones and leads to addictions, distraction, polarization, radicalization, and disinformation. Apple CEO Tim Cook agrees with this notion, and says the company wants people to use its devices for creating and connecting with friends and family.
One of the hotly-debated topics of these past few years is social media and how it has conditioned people into spending hours on end glued to their devices. Apps like Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and others are crafted in a way that encourages you to engage with an endless string of content that is algorithmically sorted to fit your preferences or favorite personalities and organizations.
During an interview with Bustle, Tim Cook expressed his support of Shine — an app that’s designed to help users tackle social stigma around mental health issues, both in their personal life as well as at work. Cook believes apps like Shine are powerful examples of how technology can be used to improve the quality of people’s lives.
The Apple CEO was also asked to weigh in on the recent reports about how Facebook and Instagram impact young people’s mental health. He says that’s one of the reasons Apple developed features like Screen Time, but the time spent using social media apps is only one component, the other being what you’re doing.
Cook explained that “we want people to do things with their devices, like the photography exhibit [that he enjoyed earlier that day], or connecting with family and friends with FaceTime. Not endless, mindless scrolling.” He’s a strong proponent of the idea that “technology should serve humanity and not the other way around.”
Online and technology addiction are high up on Apple’s priority list of things to solve, and the company believes it can do more to prevent them on its devices. At the same time, it’s researching ways for the iPhone to monitor for common mental health conditions and possibly even detect early warning signs.