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Nomophobia, smartphone addiction is a serious problem

AND a well-known alarm but still too often underestimated and ignored. Smartphone addiction represents a real threat to the well-being of people, especially children. A problem that is also becoming a political priority as demonstrated by the crusade that President Macron is doing in France where one would like ban cell phones for children under 13.

The transalpine country is trying to follow up on the suggestions of a group of experts who presented a detailed report on the problems generated by digital screens. According to the experts Servane Mouton, neurologist and neurophysiologist, and the psychiatrist Amine Benyamina, it is necessary take concrete and urgent measures to avoid the hyperconnection of minors.

The suggestions are quite peremptory: before 3 years, ban on all screens, including television; between 3 and 6 years, TV and tablet only in the presence of an adult; no mobile phone connected to the internet before the age of 13; zero social networks before the age of 15better if they are used by those aged 18 and over.

There is no such restrictive law yet but some countries have already taken measures at least for limit their use at school. In Great Britain, a circular from the Ministry of Education aims to prohibit its use even during recess by children under 16 but This has already been the case in France since 2018 for those who have not turned 15 years old. Important regulations are also present in Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.

New York State would like to allow the use of smartphones in schools only if you do not have an internet connection, but allowing them to be used for communications with parents. Gov. Kathy Hochu’s bill will be debated later this year.

Italy is also moving, it was in fact recently filed a bipartisan bill called «Provisions for the protection of minors in the digital dimension» which provides for the obligation of the platforms to introduce verification of the user’s age and the prohibition of use for under 16 without the consent or supervision of a parent or guardian. Currently in our country, according to Legislative Decree 101 of 2018 the minimum age is 14 years, with tolerance on the part of social media managers for users as young as 13 years old.

On the other hand, the use of digital devices must clearly be managed with greater knowledge of the facts by parents, educators, teenagers and above all children because there are now few doubts about the consequences for minors. The latest study published in the journal reiterates this Archives of Disease in Childhood which highlights how the greatest risks can be faced especially teenagers.

According to research conducted in Finland, girls, in fact, tend to be more inclined to excessive use of smartphones with an average of almost 6 hours a day. About one in 5 (17% of the sample) shows signs of addiction and psychophysical disorders. Obviously this investigation is only the latest of numerous analyzes carried out by experts in recent years.

The recent report of the Atlas of childhood at risk in Italy, promoted by Save the Children, noted how the risks of exposure to digital screens now concern increasingly younger users. The percentage of girls who come into contact with screens (TV, PC, tablet or smartphone) between 11 and 15 months of age on average reaches 58.1%, almost 3 out of 5.

Even the mobile phone is no longer a pipe dream, in Italy 78.3% of children between 11 and 13 years old use the internet every day and do so mainly via smartphone. Numbers increased significantly after Covid. The recent Eures report leaves little doubt about the scale of the phenomenon: 82% of young Italians are at risk to develop a smartphone addiction.

It’s no better even for older kids who are increasingly at risk of addiction to social media. According to the Demoskopika Institute, there are 430 thousand people between 18 and 23 years old, 390 thousand between 24 and 29 years old, 308 thousand between 30 and 35 years old, practically over 1 million young Italians who demonstrate have a problematic relationship with social networks. Many.

And the often negative effects of the use of smartphones are also demonstrated by stories such as that of the Marubo tribe in the Amazon, completely overturned by the arrival of the Internet which reached this remote area of ​​Brazil thanks to Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite service. In a report from New York Times the reporters tell how the young people of this community «They are all there, concentrated on their cell phones, they have become lazy, they don’t speak, they don’t work, they don’t move. They’re as if they’re dazed.”

Source: Vanity Fair

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