To Q: Treat “Smartphones” like Drugs

November 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dear Q,

Something in your interview with Randi Zuckerberg really resonated with me.  You know how she mentioned that she needs her “hit” of info from her mobile device every morning? Well that’s exactly what life was like for me when I was deepest in the clutches of tobacco addiction — the last thing I did before going to sleep and the first thing I did when I woke up was smoke a cigarette.  She later makes light of the apparent fact that people get together at restaurants and stare at their phones rather than being social with the people they are sitting with.  Remember when restaurants used to be filled with smokers and cigarette smoke? (ie. people engaging in antisocial behaviour in public because they’re addicts.) 98% of women would rather forgo sex for a year than shut off their phone for a weekend??  Can you think of a more glaring sign of the apocalypse? These devices are clearly very addictive, and if women would rather fiddle with their phones than engage in the natural, life-giving act of coitus we are in big trouble as a society and as a species.

We need to face the fact that mobile devices are addictive.  They act like drugs in the brain much like gambling does, and the designers of these devices and social networking sites know this and exploit it.  These devices are rewiring the teenage brain, provide access to porn to children and teens 24/7, are used to facilitate deadly bullying and harassment (think Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons), are not proven safe for human health and their manufacture necessitates environmental destruction and human exploitation.

I don’t care if I’m the only person in the world willing to say it: but we really need to rethink the proliferation of “smartphones” in our society.  They do far  more harm than good, and just because they are available on the market doesn’t mean every man, woman and child should have one. I think that, at least, there should be a legal age to own a “smartphone”.  If there’s a legal age for tobacco and alcohol, why wouldn’t there be a legal age for a product that can give you cancer, debilitates your ability to pay attention, is destructive to the earth and society, provides free pornography to children and is very, very addictive?



[Sent by email Nov 25. Q is an excellent cultural affairs show on CBC Radio]


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