Welcome to Fully Human

Jono Baggaley
The first edition of the Fully Human newsletter. Introducing fresh perspectives on technology, childhood and the future of education. Landing in your inbox every fortnight.…

Welcome to Fully Human

Welcome to the first edition of the Fully Human newsletter. Fresh perspectives on technology, childhood and the future of education every fortnight.

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Welcome To Fully Human
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Hello! I’m Jono, Chief Executive of the PSHE Association, a charity where we spend our time working out how to teach children and young people useful things to prepare them for life in the real world. From how to cross the road to what to do if you’re being bullied, negotiating consent to getting help if you’re being groomed, we believe education can play a critical role in supporting young people’s health, wellbeing, safety, happiness and ability to thrive in today's world — and tomorrow's.

But education can only play this role if we pay attention to the world young people are actually growing up in: not the world just gone, or the one we grew up in. It’s one thing to ready children for a world that’s familiar, teaching them how to wash their hands or share toys, form friendships or understand healthy eating; it’s another to teach them how to navigate a hyper simulated world served through ubiquitous rectangles of mass distraction. Or how to maintain focus when bombarded with hyperpalatable mental stimuli, perfectly attuned to sap every last drop of their attention. Or how to teach at all when the interlocking crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are the backdrop to any curriculum.

Yes, today’s world can be jangling, dissonant and confusing. Technology occupies strange power and place and nature itself is rebelling against our assumed authority. Young people grow up in a world of fractalized subcultures, have unprecedented access to information, content and culture yet are more heavily surveilled and have more constraints on their play than at any point in history. What do they need from education and how can we respond?

This is where Fully Human, our research and development arm, comes in. It’s our place to think, stretch out and join the dots between this fast changing world and what might most usefully support young people to sail through it. It’s where we ask about the daily experiences, situations and pressures children have to navigate and how the landscape of their lives is similar, and different, from that of their parents and grandparents. It’s where we look for useful insights to support our teaching, parenting and beyond from any disciplines which consider how humans learn, behave and thrive. Most of all, it is where we consider how we can be more, rather than, less fully human.

Because Fully Human is not just a name, it’s a goal.

What’s to come?

Over the last few years we’ve been thinking deeply about topics ranging from the dangerous influence of online pornography to the wide-ranging implications of conversational AI, from the nature of conversations around consent to the links between play, video games and agency. But with the exception of our 2021 report into online porn, ‘Pornography and Human Futures’ we’ve been doing this behind the scenes. From now on, we’ll be thinking in the open, sharing an article fortnightly from one of the Fully Human crew, as well as contributions from our friends, partners and inspirations. Over the coming months we’ll be:

  • exploring what happens when technology starts talking to us
  • looking in detail at the impact of platforms like OnlyFans and the broader commodification of sex 
  • considering the nature of online misogyny and new approaches to tackling it
  • asking if focusing exclusively on sexual consent is proving a diversion from the conversations we really need to be having about sex
  • working out how to teach children to manage distraction in the face of persuasive design
  • thinking about the feelings, approaches and values that might best help young people and us all as we face and tackle climate change
  • trying to disagree better about education and getting underneath the divisive binaries of the education debates
  • exploring the benefits of independent play using video games in the classroom

And more…

If this sounds up your street, stay subscribed and recommend Fully Human to your friends. We’re looking forward to sharing ideas as we cook them — some straight out of the oven, others still in the mixing bowl. See you in a fortnight!