10/18/2020 By Kathleen Alcorn, Founder and CEO of ATOLLetc LLC
I agree with Andrea Bonime-Blanc’s article that it is time for us add “T” to our ESGs.
ATOLLetc LLC, an emerging technology and public affairs consulting firm, introduced, through the leadership of Rep. Deb Conroy, Rep. Chris Welch, and Leader Jay Hoffman, Illinois HB 5852, a bill creating a task force to explore the possible implementation of mandated #mentalhealthcare for all students #K-12. While there are a myriad of reasons why this initiative is so important, #emergingtechnologies are a large part as well. (01/09/2021 update: HB 5852 will be reintroduced an amendatory bill, during Illinois Spring Session, 2021.)
I began the idea of writing this bill while monitoring the extreme #emotions and #hate on #socialmedia, and the way it was rapidly changing the #mentalstate of my country. If, by example, adults are unintentionally teaching children the art of #cyberbullying, in that it is “OK” to make exceptions upon what, how and who #anger, #hate and #emotions are presented, we have created a problem that will take generations to mend. Unintentionally equates to unknowingly onto lack of accountability. Lack of accountability is a dangerous thing to make acceptable
Over the course of a year, a past legislator who is a practicing attorney, and I, discussed many aspects leading to this bill, including mass and school shootings. He talked about growing up in one of the suburbs of Chicago, and pausing at gang shootings during the 80’s and 90’s, when shots were way too close to home. The idea that anyone could grow up becoming accustomed to living in a warzone, in the the United States of America, saddens me. This led to many sleepless nights, trying to hash out possible solutions.
We discussed our concerns about emerging technologies and the impact upon our world. What will happen if we do not begin to take action now? Will the detachment and lack of empathy resulting from more technology and less human interaction lead to more shootings? More questions. For this bill, he raised concerns regarding the way juvenile records will be handled. An outcome of the task force, of which, I hope will establish uniform standards that are so well written, most states will also want to adopt.
#Dataprivacy, #onlinepredators, and #antihumantrafficking were focused upon. As #education moves towards #onlineeducation, children are now provided with more time and freedom to their devices, and less monitoring from their parents. Three months after I predicted this to a member of #uscongress, the requests to self identify with #avatars began. #Identity will become one of the most important subject matters of #jursiprudence, as we navigate into the future of #laws and #regulations.
The interest of #nationalsecurity and #counterterrorism, as a preventative measure to reduce #cyberattacks as we move towards #smartcity futures were also considered. #Mentalhealth is, after all, #cybersecurity for the #humanmind. The concept of #smartcities still invokes the same looks of confusion and blank stares as my favorite topic, #blockchain. Often, those concepts have to be broken down into relatable matter. Using the example of cyberattacks shutting down power grids, where large populations of people have no access to heat, still needs to be explained further, that this has an impact upon hospitals, life support systems, home oxygen, etc. Even in that sense, it becomes more “idea-able” for a brief moment, followed by something like, “but I still do not understand how cybersecurity impacts us or what this has to do with smart cities.”
#Sustainability begins with examining why and where many problems of #humanity are traceable to a single root cause. #Resources are wasted upon repeated repairs if those resources could be better applied towards #prevention. As we become more engaged and attached to our devices, the ability to think outside of our own immediate needs, wants and expectations, has now become a #skillset rather than a product of maturity, making #empathy a mere word that too many now have to take pause to think about. One may not think that they “need” mental health care if they themselves feel that they function properly, as one may not “need” cybersecurity to protect power grids, if one has never experienced uninterrupted power. A large part of empathy involves breaking away from dismissing or denying things that exist in the world or even determining such things as irrelevant, if we are not able to apply to those things to ourselves, directly. We can no longer afford to think like that.
Technologies are going to evolve at exponentially faster rates. As a result, we will be looking towards children more and more as this happens. It will not be long before the the 20 somethings will be saying things like “FaceChat” and “That ZingZap thing the kids use to talk to their teachers on,” instead of our grandparents. It is therefore our #ethicalresponsibility to provide the necessary tools that children will need to #adapt into a world and pace we ourselves cannot fully predict nor understand.
Over a year ago, a woman who asked me about my initiatives, specifically with #STEAM, suddenly snapped and yelled, “Children CANNOT be LEADERS!!” I respectfully continue to disagree, as well as continue to have enormous respect for our educators who are working so hard to help our students through the massive changes as a result of the current global pandemic.
While no one is suggesting that children K-12 should run for public offices, we do live in uncertain times and also during an exciting future of innovation and growth. #Mentalhealth is more important now than it ever has been before. If HB 5852 passes during this upcoming veto session, #Illinois will be placing the “T” in #ESGs by giving the gift of #empowerment to our children. Hopefully, other states will soon follow. And perhaps one day, the word “children” will be deemed ageist as our #futureleaders begin to lead.
#removethestigma #mentalhealth #youthempowerment #mentalhealthisahumanright #humanrights #youthleadership #communication #intelligence #empathy #emotion #empowerment #emotionalintelligence #inclusion #equitydiversityinclusion #bethedifference #MHTF #emergingtechnologies #emergingleaders #beproactivenotreactive