The more adults master new technologies, the further they keep them away from their children and from themselves. At least that’s what they enact in Silicon Valley, where digital gurus reject screens until at least secondary in raising their offspring. Neither tablets nor mobiles nor computers. Knowing that there are social networks designed to lose control, those who think, produce and sell the technology that transforms the 21st century are betting on the traditional.
The digital ecosystem can bring one closer to people who are far away, but sometimes it alienates them from those close to one. The NGO Protégeles, which collaborates with the European Commission, points out that in Spain 1.5% of citizens are already addicted to new technologies, and 21% of young people are at risk of ‘getting hooked’ on mobile phones and developing a phobia to be without your terminal.
This obsession can lead to depression and be a problem for their future, and it is in childhood that this excess consumption of screens and devices is created, which causes school failure and addiction to grow. “Before we had adolescents who on occasion lied to their parents to go out and now we see that our adolescents lie to their parents to keep their screens,” warns the psychologist expert in family and new technologies María Guerrero.
“There are more and more children and adults who have attention problems. There is an excess of information and stimuli ”, highlights the psychiatrist Marian Rojas Estapé. The expert regrets that today’s young people are less intelligent than previous generations because “their prefrontal cortex is addicted to vibrant experiences.” «You ask them to read an entire text and they don’t get it, deepening requires getting out of instant gratification. They read a headline and do not read the news, they send a WhatsApp and save a conversation, “he criticizes while highlighting the drama of loneliness. «People feel lonely and young people even more. They alleviate their current loneliness in the networks, planned to hook (said by their own creators) », he says.
27.8% of minors present compulsive use, according to the Spanish Observatory of Drugs and Addictions
Spaniards spend an average of 6 hours and 54 minutes a day on the Internet according to Hootsuite. Scenario that puts numerous risks on the table. «88% of young people declare that they spend more time on the Internet than they should, a feeling that is more accentuated among women, according to the study ‘Inside doors and outside screens. Youth in Confinement ‘. 27.8% of minors present compulsive use, according to the Spanish Observatory on Drugs and Addictions.
“We cannot be slaves to our phone or our screens. We are a society that has lost the meaning of life. We have replaced it with other things: sensations, social networks, screens, pornography, alcohol … it is a serious problem ». “Screens generate instant gratification and dopamine sparks. They give you moments of pleasure, but they cause withdrawal syndrome “, criticizes Rojas Estapé.
A haven for addicts
Its consumption has increased exponentially in recent years, but with the development of the pandemic we are witnessing an «alarming abuse» of ICT by adolescents, which interferes «significantly» in their activities. daily life, in the opinion of the president of the Spanish Society of Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Félix Notario. “In many, the refuge has been ICT, they have felt isolated, anxious, sad and disappointed; all this a breeding ground for addiction, “he warns. Madrid has a pioneering center in Spain that served 4,456 people last year for addiction to new technologies. Since its creation in 2018, they have served 12,327 users.
“It is important not to use technology to regulate the emotional state of the child from the cradle”
In 2018, the Government included addictions to new technologies in the National Addiction Plan. A ‘substance’ harmful to health, comparable to drugs or alcohol and where the most affected are young people between 12 and 17 years of age. Tech junkies with the heroine of our time. Saying digital natives falls short, they have not known anything else and going from use to abuse does not seem complicated. «The profile of addicts is mostly men who have also suffered bullying, depression or some interparental conflict. Cases can come to us derived from Mental Health, Social Services or Educational Centers. Any public or private body can refer us to families, but they can also contact us on their own initiative. It is important to clarify that new technologies have many benefits, it must be emphasized that what is harmful is their misuse, “says one of those responsible for the Technological Addictions Service of the Community of Madrid.
“There are several basic indicators with which to sound the alarm, although we must know how to distinguish between irresponsible use and ‘behavioral addiction’: lack of control over behavior, need for increasingly prolonged use despite negative consequences and significant alteration in daily life – loss of sleep, irritability, lack of food and hygiene, isolation from the family, poor school performance … “, explains the expert, who insists that the fundamental thing is the involvement of families. «It is important to regulate the use of new technologies from the beginning and not to use them to regulate the emotional state of the child from the cradle, but rather the child learns to relax through a device and not through a link with a reference person. Everything that has accumulated in the previous evolutionary stages shines in adolescence, “he warns.