PrimerOctober 7 2020

Good Intentions, Bad Inventions

The Four Myths of Healthy Tech

Amanda Lenhart
Kellie Owens

Good Intentions, Bad Inventions by Amanda Lenhart and Kellie Owens dispels common myths about our relationship to technology in order to champion evidence-based narratives that reinforce agency and equity, not control and addiction.

Report Summary

Current thinking around tech addiction is largely based in biological determinism—the idea that we “can’t help ourselves” from becoming addicted to technology—and tech solutionism—a belief that technological changes alone can solve for digital well-being. Neither of these approaches are grounded in empirical evidence, and both put the blame on the individual, rather than the platform.

Lenhart and Owens break down 4 common “healthy tech” myths by explaining where they come from, what they obscure, and how we can move beyond them. Intended for those designing, developing, and regulating emerging technologies, the primer provides teams with fresh ideas for how to analyze and improve user well-being.

Report Authors


Amanda Lenhart and Kellie Owens, Good Intentions, Bad Inventions: The Four Myths of Healthy Tech (New York: Data & Society Research Institute, 2020),

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