The addiction of the century

No cell phone until 16 years old.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
13 May 2024 Monday 04:53
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The addiction of the century

No cell phone until 16 years old. It is an experiment that the Basque government's Department of Health (not the Department of Education) will apply to three schools to raise awareness of the abusive and harmful use of the telephone and to try to delay its implementation.

It is a pilot project that will try to spread to other centers and other young people. It's very good.

Part of the experiment consists of leaving the kids without phones for a week, in which they are asked to keep a kind of diary with their feelings.

At first they feel a kind of anxiety like that of a heroin addict, but as the days go by they discover - they have confessed - the pleasure of doing other things, including (real) contact with their peers, and that is also very good.

It is one more of the many tests that institutions or administrations have tried in recent months or years to combat the harmful effects (alleged or not) of the mobile phone on the mental, physical, emotional, sexual and even legal health of those born after January 9, 2007: The day Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone and proclaimed that he had just reinvented the phone. Such right. It didn't introduce an iPhone, it opened a century.

Seventeen years and a massive expansion later (it is estimated that there will be 15 billion smartphones in the world by 2022), initiatives are proliferating to limit and control their use by the youngest, the most tender brains.

In January, Catalonia approved banning mobile phones in primary education and restricting their use in secondary schools, as France did with a law in 2018.

The smartphone is banned before the university during school hours because of the "serious" harm it poses "for teaching activities and community life".

The United States is debating the Child Online Safety Act, to protect minors. That's all very well too. No?

At the top of The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list for six weeks has been The Anxious Generation, in which the American psychologist Jonathan Haidt accuses social networks (the main fuel of smartphones) of epidemic of mental damage suffered by young people. More depression, more suicide.

The book has suffered strong opposition, because the scientific evidence is at least not fluctuating.

In the journal Nature, fellow psychologist Candice L. Odgers accused him of linking two facts (cell phones and mental health) without taking into account other factors.

For example, the effects of the economic crisis that devastated the West from precisely that year, and that led to drastic cuts, among other things, in public health. The debate is over.

Odgers also called Haidt "yellow" and writing "what parents want to hear".

How…? Because in addressing the issue, the central question of paternal addiction is usually left aside. From paternal addiction to filial addiction, I mean. How comfortable it is to have your offspring under the influence of drugs, quiet, without fights, without shouting and without getting a glass of wine.

Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, entered 2023 134 billion dollars.