Yesterday some new research was released under headlines such as:
- ‘Smartphone ‘addiction’: Young people ‘panicky’ when denied mobiles’ (BBC)
- ‘One in four children ‘have problematic smartphone use’ (Guardian)
- ‘23 per cent of young people show “problematic smartphone usage”: report (Mobile Marketing Magazine)
- One in four teenagers ‘face mental health risk’ from phone addiction (The Times)
- Smartphone ‘Addiction’ Amongst Teens Is A Thing Now Oceans Vibe News
- A quarter of young people are ‘problematic’ smartphone users, King’s College finds The Telegraph
- ‘Young people are getting more and more addicted to their phones, researchers warn’ The Metro
As the Guardian noted, beyond the headlines:
”The experts behind the latest study said they wanted to look beyond the time young people were spending on smartphones and instead explore the type of relationship they had with such devices.”
My first notes on Facebook were:
Feels like same old story … assumes causal rather than correlation, assumes that time on phone is ‘bad’, rather than seeing how phones are actually used (they have everything on them, why would you want to be away from your phone), but also it is good to try new things which give you a chance to see if there is something problematic going on there – e.g. a bit of time out (can feel a bit like ‘diet advice’ which is rubbish too). Balancing individual and systematic change – society is crap and hard work why would you not want to see what your friends are up to, watch a random good feel video, or even do some work..
Here’s some of what I said:
“This just highlights that we want to look a bit deeper into whether there’s a problem with mobile phones causing potentially addiction or whether actually it’s something to do with society that is causing people to want spend longer on their phone,” she said.
Lewis suggests it is better to look at the quality of what people are doing on their phones, rather than necessarily the quantity of time being spent on them and says parents should monitor children’s screen time.
“People need to look individually at their phone usage, because it will be different for everyone, what a good amount of screen time is.
“I think parents should definitely be involved in their children’s use of phones. I think conversation is key and talking to them about it, looking at what they are doing on it and trying to encourage a balance.
“We should use the resources that we’ve been given by God responsibly, and our time and our smartphones are resources that we’ve been given, so we need to ask the question, how do we use them well?
“I’m passionate about getting Christians involved in the industries that are creating the machines, creating the algorithms, creating the technology and therefore shaping the current social shaping of technology.”
Here’s the full blog post. I was also featured on news bulletins throughout the day, but didn’t capture any of them.
For my own reference: post-interview conversation on Facebook.
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.