Making technology an ally in mental health care (Fundación Innovación Bankinter):
Interest in using technology for mental health dates back to the mid twentieth century. “Studies began back in the 1960s, given the growing concern about addiction in children (especially) and adults,” clarifies Álvaro Fernández Ibáñez about the beginning of this discipline.
Sesame Street, the well-known American show, is a project that developed to “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them“, in the words of its producers. As Fernández Ibáñez points out, these programs appeared to “channel technology in a way that is beneficial to cognitive and mental health,” which indicates that this interest is not temporary.
But it is new in other areas. For obvious reasons, the study of the Internet and social networks is much more recent than that of television, and is usually divided into two major trends:
- on the one hand, “understanding and preventing harmful effects” as may be the case with Facebook or Instagram;
- on the other, “promoting beneficial effects” of platforms that help detect anxiety problems, depression, or “meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy apps”, among others…
Often, technology perceived as good or bad is the same technology, but used in two different ways. At SharpBrains they have been “analyzing and promoting science and industry” for more than a decade and pushing technology in the direction of pervasive neurotechnology, or non-invasive neurotechnology…
Technology can not only help us grow out of unhealthy habits, it is also possible to expand human mental capacities. Álvaro Fernández Ibáñez points out about this that it can and should be done, although it will be necessary to analyze “the how and when” of these uses: they must be ethically sound and ensure that results are beneficial to society.
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» Also available in Spanish: Cómo hacer de la tecnología un aliado en el cuidado de la salud mental
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