It wasn’t that long ago that computers were work-place only appliances, but today we (and our families) walk around with immensely powerful computers in our pockets. Our smartphones are powered by millions of apps and connected to a modern and mobile internet that enables us to do about, well, anything! These devices make it possible for us to connect with friends around the world, stay informed with the news anywhere, make payments, control the lights and temperature in our homes and even hail cars (which will soon be driven by computers as well).
This nonstop connectivity gives us great power, but it also comes with great responsibility – responsibility we all share to use technology to enrich and improve our lives.
“Apptitude” isn’t just about being able to use technology; it’s also about knowing how to use it responsibly. Throughout history there have been many transformative innovations and technologies that have permanently changed how we live, work and communicate. The radio, the telephone and the automobile all offered huge benefits, but they also required community leaders, parents, teachers and companies to develop ground rules and provide guidance on how to use these technologies to ensure they enriched our lives. Today, the thousands of apps that are created every week are no different. It’s up to all of us to work with our communities to make sure that these powerful tools are used for good.
At AT&T we have a long history of making sure our customers have access to not only technology, but also the skills they need to get the most out of that technology and use it safely. That’s why, in 2009, we launched IT CAN WAIT, a campaign to stop texting and driving. Today, more than 11 million people have taken the pledge to keep their friends and families safe by keeping their eyes on the road, not on their phones. Throughout the year, we bring our texting and driving virtual reality simulator around the country to malls, schools and community centers to provide consumers with a first-hand experience of how deadly sending or looking at that text, tweet, post or email can be.
And it’s not just about distracted driving. For more than a decade we have worked with experts, parents, teachers and nonprofits around the country to reach tens of thousands of consumers and improve digital literacy in our communities. That’s why we were a founding member of National Cyber Security Alliance’s STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ cybersecurity awareness campaign. In 2015 AT&T launched the Digital You initiative to further improve the effectiveness and reach of our programs. Through collaboration with experts like the National Cyber Security Alliance, Common Sense Media, the Family Online Safety Institute, the OASIS Institute and the LGBT Technology Partnership we have developed materials and a website and held training sessions throughout the country to teach older adults to use tablets and smartphones, train job seekers to leverage the internet and educate teenagers and parents about how to identify, stop and prevent cyberbullying.
Since its founding, AT&T has been committed to helping our society find solutions to the big issues of our time. Apps are powerful, but it’s users who can use apps to affect change. We will continue to do our part to give people the tools and education they need to use technology to improve society and enrich our lives.
About the Author
Chris Boyer is the assistant vice president of public policy at AT&T Services, Inc. Mr. Boyer’s responsibilities include the development and coordination of AT&T’s strategic policy initiatives at the federal and state levels impacting emerging services and technology, including a recent focus on cybersecurity.
Previously Mr. Boyer was AT&T’s dedicated public policy resource embedded with functional business units responsible for coordinating the company’s nationwide efforts to expand fiber optics into neighborhoods to deliver Internet Protocol (IP)-based television, faster high-speed internet access and voice services under the AT&T U-verseSM brand. In this role Mr. Boyer represented AT&T before numerous external audiences and policymakers as a subject matter expert on AT&T’s U-verse initiative. Mr. Boyer joined AT&T in 1993 and has extensive experience working on AT&T’s broadband, VoIP and IPTV initiatives.