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More evidence that smart phones are destroying minds

The smart phone: Bad for kids
The smart phone: Proven very bad for kids

Link here. The article is a detailed look at the growing body of evidence that now strongly suggests that the use of smart phones by young children is very bad for the development of their brains, and leads to numerous mental and physical issues later in life.

The article describes numerous studies that have tracked a sudden rise in childhood behavioral problems, beginning in the early 2010s, when smart phones started to be ubiquitous. For example,

In 2008, psychotherapist Tom Kersting, who worked as a school counselor for 25 years, saw a rise in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses in children over age 8. ADHD tends to be detected in early childhood after a child starts school. However, he has witnessed increasing diagnoses in teenagers and adults. While it could be possible that some of these teens were missed by clinicians when they were young, Mr. Kersting suspects that some developed symptoms of ADHD due to screen use.

Around 2012, when 30 percent of teenagers had a smartphone, he started to see rebellious behavior and anxiety disorders becoming more common among children. Young adults and teenagers growing up now also tend to be more antisocial and have reduced emotional resilience, which may be related to insufficient in-person socializing due to spending most of their time behind screens. “It’s not just the amount of time spent in the cyber world,” Mr. Kersting told The Epoch Times, “but also what they missed out on: outside play and social learning.”

Other studies have found similar rises during this same time period in childhood depression, anxiety, autism, and an inability to control their emotions.

This work confirms an earlier report about what one Minnesota middle school discovered when it banned smart phones while at school. Not only did behavioral problems decline — both inside and outside the classroom — but learning went up across the board.

The article above notes however one serious problem that stands in the way of parents taking smart phones from their kids: The parents’ own addiction to smart phones.

The work of educator and clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair has also shown that children are increasingly competing with screens for their parents’ attention. Some children have reported feeling neglected because their parents are constantly checking their phones.

Parents who are unaware or not in control of their own screen use may also struggle to set screen time limits for their kids. Some parents are now raising their children by using screens as babysitters. This can cause children to prioritize screens over family and vice versa with the parents, Dr. Rosenfeld said.

This phenomenon is reflected in Gen Alpha. A common issue with these children is a lack of discipline, leaving parents stressed, and only screens can pacify them during their tantrums. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted paragraph might help explain why human discourse on all levels, not just in the political world, has become more heated in the last half decade. The rise in the use of obscenities during this same time period that adults once considered very improper to use but now use continuously in almost every sentence, in private and in very public venues (often in front of children), also appears linked to the rise of smart phone use by children beginning a decade earlier.

Overall, the trends point in a very bad direction, unless the present adult generation can muster the courage and strength of character to keep smart phones from their kids until they are at least eighteen years old.

What makes me doubt this will happen comes from my own experience with something far less addictive and compelling, television. When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, television was the main source of entertainment. It became addictive to me, so much so that I soon realized in college that if I did not remove the TV completely from my life, I would never be able to accomplish much of anything.

Thus, I decided when moved into my own apartment I would not bring a television with me. It worked, but it was incredibly difficult to do. There were many shows I had become very addicted to watching on a weekly basis, and these were now unavailable. I found myself visiting parents and friends just to see them.

Over time however the urge to watch diminished, mostly because the old programs I was addicted to were canceled and I was unfamiliar with the new shows and thus had no desire to see them. I had not seen the commercials pushing them.

In the decades that followed, however, I found that my life without television was extremely unusual, and was viewed by almost everyone I knew or met as absurd and impossible.

Imagine trying to do the same now with smart phones, which appear to be far more addictive and cause infinitely more harm. As the article notes,

[S]ocial media has been engineered to lack natural stopping cues inherent in many aspects of life. Whether it’s a newspaper article, book, or movie, there is always an ending. One is, therefore, left to choose another activity once the end of the article, chapter, or movie comes.

However, with social media, one can scroll on forever without an end to the content—known as the doom scroll. Internet surfing is no different. Put a word into the search engine, and endless results and related links surface, leading you down a rabbit hole.

Breaking this cycle will be incredibly difficult for adults. How will they then manage to do the same for their kids?

Idiocracy: “But Brawndo’s got what plants crave.
It’s got electrolytes!”

As I noted in December, however, there is no reason at all to give any child a smart phone.

The reason parents give kids phones is so they can have easy contact should an emergency arise. Such need does not exist in school because the school can contact them should any problems occur. In fact, such need doesn’t exist in almost all cases, and when it does exist a smart phone is overkill. All the kids really need is a simple flip cell phone.

Yet, by all measures it does not appear that parents are doing this. Instead, they are giving smart phones to their kids at younger and younger ages.

It now appears that the long term consequences of making childhood a smart phone experience will be very dreadful indeed. If anything, it might be signalling the cause of the dark age of stupidity that we now appear trapped within.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • The radical authoritarian Left (Democrats and RINO’s, CCP Chinese, Russians etc) have a lot to work with.

  • Fun factoid: I haven’t had TV since 2013. Because all I watch on TV is live sports, I realized it was cheaper to watch selected events at the bar, rather than buy subscriptions for a lot of stuff I don’t care about. Still have a smartphone, so not completely screen-free.

  • David M. Cook

    I sold my TV in 2013 and never missed it! I spend my free time reading history & science books; just last summer I read Gibbon‘s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire-6 of the 7 volumes. I agree that kids have no need for a smart phone, and the schools should lead the way by banning them from the classroom.

  • John C

    George Carlin would be disappointed. Anybody ever just go out in the back yard and play with a stick anymore?

  • It beggars belief that children survived the entirety of Human history without phones. I suspect that most kids have phones because a) their parents have them, and b) the worst possible situation as a child is to be different, and if a kid doesn’t have a smartphone, they will be social pariahs.

  • pzatchok

    I have a flip phone and still feel too connected.

    I think cell phone blockers should be legal in private places. Movie theaters and schools for one.

    As for wireless laptop use in class rooms. Well anyone who has set up a network knows that a list of approved devices can be set up to exclude ALL phones from the network and only those devices approved by the school will work.

  • Jeff Wright

    I still have cable…I want some spontaneity.

    The best years of my life were playing in the back yard with raygun toys and my imagination

  • wayne

    Mr. Z.,
    I’m intrigued, what did you like to watch when you were younger?

    Talking Heads
    “Found a Job” (1978)

    “[Darn] that television… what a bad picture.”
    “Don’t get upset, it’s not a major disaster.”
    “There’s nothing on tonight,” he said, “I don’t know what’s the matter!”
    “Nothing’s ever on,” she said, “so… I don’t know why you bother.”

    We’ve heard this little scene, we’ve heard it many times,
    People fighting over little things and wasting precious time.
    They might be better off… I think… the way it seems to me,
    Making up their own shows, which might be better than T.V.

    So, think about this little scene, apply it to your life,
    If your work isn’t what you love, then something isn’t right.
    Just look at Bob and Judy, they’re happy as can be,
    Inventing situations and putting them on T.V.”

  • John C in his backyard looking for a stick to play with:

    Too funny :)

  • wayne

    Never underestimate how difficult it actually is, to find a good stick….

    Tim Poole, Michael Malice, Alex Jones
    “I Am A Gorilla” Supercut (December 11, 2020)

  • D3F1ANT

    Smart phones are the least of their worries. Children are thrown to the Leftist indoctrination wolves for 8 or 10 hours per day where they learn that whites, straights, America, and Capitalism are BAD.

  • Htos1av

    Sold my last Trinitron in 1992, the web was a bit sparse then, but it’s a little better now. I STILL catch myself acting like a 70’s kid sometimes….I don’t NEED a “google”…old habits die hard.
    Dad was retired USMC aviation, and he blew a head gasket when I JUST wanted an AM radio for Christmas one time….screen time? Didn’t happen.
    Yep, turned out ok, no serial killers or anything in this family.

  • Htos1av:

    BUT, as a result you have no idea what is going on in the world and what is in fact coming.

    Willful ignorance is willful ignorance.

    And there is a very high cost to be paid.

  • What is coming?

    Willful ignorance really is bliss.

    Not that an individual can by themselves do what must be done, but at least understand how and why your country is being destroyed.

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