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Professor Gaia Bernstein Delivers a TEDx Talk about Addictive Technologies

Professor Gaia Bernstein Delivers a TEDx Talk

Professor Gaia Bernstein

Seton Hall Law Professor Gaia Bernstein, co-director of the Institute for Privacy Protection and the Gibbons Institute for Law, Science and Technology, delivered a TEDx talk titled The Truth about Technology, which is now available on the TED YouTube Channel.


This prolific writer, lecturer, and speaker on legal, health, technology, and privacy issues, describes herself as a 21st century mom. She explains the nuanced significance of childhood online addiction and isolation as well as the need for legal and moral accountability.


"In 2017, as the director of the Institute for Privacy Protection of the Law School, I created a school outreach program for kids who got their first cell phone and their parents. The program addressed the then barely recognized problem of technology addiction. Through that program I realized how desperate parents were and how impossible it was to solve the problem through self-help measures and parental controls," Bernstein noted.


Unwired: Gaining Control over Addictive Technologies Book CoverShe said, "I turned my energies to working on a book on how to solve the technology addiction problem through collective legal action. In 2023, Unwired: Gaining Control over Addictive Technologies was published by Cambridge University Press. It was important for me to write the book for a popular audience so it will reach not just law professors and lawyers but also parents, educators and many people who just felt desperate."


Unwired has been broadly featured and excerpted, including by Wired Magazine, Time Magazine and the Boston Globe. It has received numerous recognitions, including as a Next Big Idea Must Read Book; a finalist of the PROSE award in legal studies; and a finalist of the American Book Fest award in business-technology. Bernstein has been selected as the Law School’s Researcher of the Year 2024.


"Since the book was published a year ago, I continued to work with policymakers, to contribute to legal change. But I wanted to take the message to a broader audience through a TED talk. I wanted to tell especially parents, but also many others, that we should not feel guilty about our excessive screen time, but instead be angry about what the tech industry did to us," Bernstein explained.


Professor Bernstein delivered the live talk at TEDx Reno. On the TEDx YouTube channel, which has over forty million subscribers, the event organizers noted that "Parents often blame themselves for their children's excessive screen time, seeing it as a failure of their parenting strategies. In this talk, professor and technology policy expert Gaia Bernstein challenges this view, pointing to the real problem: the tech industry's intentionally addictive designs. By comparing technology companies to the Big Tobacco of the 21st century, she highlights how these corporations manipulate user behavior for profit. Bernstein calls for a shift in blame towards these tech giants and urges us to unite in collective action - in our communities and courtrooms - to reform their harmful practices... Bernstein believes we need to stop blaming ourselves for our overuse of technology and shift the responsibility to the tech industry, which designs its products to addict."


"Speaking to over 2,000 people at the TEDx Reno live event and now delivering the message through the video on TED’s YouTube channel is a rare opportunity for impact. I got the opportunity to tell people that that there is a solution, which is already underway – a legal solution, and that they should be hopeful and supportive of this legal movement instead of constantly blaming themselves for failing internal and home battles," shared Bernstein.


View Professor Gaia Bernstein’s TEDx Talk entitled The Truth About Technology.


Categories: Policy and Research