An addiction therapist in the UK is warning parents that giving a smartphone to your child may be as damaging as giving them “a gram of cocaine.” That seems harsh, but hear her out.
The comments were made by Harley Street rehab clinic specialist Mandy Saligari at an education conference in London. She says that apps like Instagram and Snapchat can prove to be just as addictive for vulnerable teenagers as drugs and alcohol are for them.
“I always say to people, when you’re giving your kid a tablet or a phone, you’re really giving them a bottle of wine or a gram of coke,” she said during her talk at the Highgate Junior School conference. She talked about her experience treating several young females who believed that sending a nude picture of themselves to someone else was “normal” behavior and that it only turns out to be an issue when a teacher or parent finds out. They don’t think through the privacy and safety implications of their acts. They just do it.
Saligari asks parents to think about this behavior can mirror the brain patterns found in problem gamblers and drug addicts.
“Why do we pay so much less attention to those things than we do to drugs and alcohol when they work on the same brain impulses?” she said. What do you think? Is it bad for kids? We should probably pay more attention to these issues at the very least.