Join collaborative engagement and sign letter on tech, mental health & wellbeing

31 members

Sycomore AM and AXA IM are seeking support on a collaborative engagement and investor letter on tech, mental health & wellbeing. Recognizing the risks that excessive technology use poses on mental health, this initiative calls on target companies in the media, internet and gaming sectors to monitor these impacts and share best practices.

Collaboration details

The development of technology has greatly impacted our lives. Time allocated to tech has skyrocketed in the last decade. A study of 11k RescueTime users found that people spend around 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on phones. In 2020, the average daily social media usage of Internet users worldwide amounted to 145 minutes per day. Today, gamers have collectively spent more time playing Call of Duty (25 billion hours) than the time humanity has existed on Earth. But we rarely wonder about health impacts of tech. Behind innovation what is the reality of health costs?

Indeed, literature shows that screen overuse, especially too early, can lead to concentration and behavioral disorders, including depression and isolation. The increased use of Internet, smartphone and media (as video games, social media and streaming services) raises the question of addiction, which symptoms include mood modification, conflict, withdrawal and relapse. Research also shows that that tech impacts wellbeing: social media can contribute to increased stress and low self-esteem[1]. Moreover, exposure to screens and Internet usage affects sleep time and quality[2]. These side effects are even more pronounced on children, for whom exposure to the TV statistically delays language development.[3] Finally, the regulatory environment is evolving and imposing increasing legal constraints on companies around the world.

We understand that the handling of these mental health and wellbeing issues is not homogeneous across companies. If some companies are rejecting our collaborative dialogue initiatives it is important to see that others are taking these issues into account. Good practices include research on health impacts of sold technology with academics, as Ericsson did on 5G. the Nordic Entertainment Group is also leading on active visioning for children. Ubisoft developed a young player account with enhanced level of protection, including parents in child experience and providing them reports on child’s gaming activity. 

    Therefore, we intend to implement a collaborative dialogue initiative on tech, mental health and wellbeing, targeting companies involved in the hardware, media, Internet, gaming, software edtech and fintech space, in order to:

    1. Understand the impact of technology on mental health and wellbeing, and to what extent companies are mapping and monitoring these impacts;
    2. Understand what the best practices are today in terms of user wellbeing in the tech space;
    3. Share and promote best practices and transparency, reaffirming the importance we attach to this topic as an investor;
    4. Identify least advanced companies and engage with them actively over time.

     

    All interested investors are invited to join. 

     

    [1] Social media and young people's mental health and wellbeing, UK Royal Society for Public Health, 2017

    [2] Problematic video game use: estimated prevalence and associations with mental and physical health, Brunborg et al., 2011; Association between Facebook dependence and poor sleep quality: a study in a sample of undergraduate students in Peru, Wolniczak et al., 2013

    [3] The impact of digital media on relations, play and learning in young children, C. Panayoty-Vanhoutte, 2015

    Objectives

    We intend to implement a collaborative dialogue initiative on tech, mental health and wellbeing, targeting companies involved in the hardware, media, Internet, gaming, software edtech and fintech space, in order to:

    1. Understand the impact of technology on mental health and wellbeing, and to what extent companies are mapping and monitoring these impacts;
    2. Understand what the best practices are today in terms of user wellbeing in the tech space;
    3. Share and promote best practices and transparency, reaffirming the importance we attach to this topic as an investor;
    4. Identify least advanced companies and engage with them actively over time.
    Attachments
    • FAQ - Collaborative engagement on Tech mental health wellbeing July 2023.pdf Download
    • Investor statement on Technology, mental health & well-being_updated051223.pdf Download
    Created on
    ESG theme
    • Social
    Sustainable Development Goal
    • 3 - Good health & well-being
    Geography
    • Global
    Asset class
    All