The Obama administration recently blocked the United States Trade Commission’s attempt to ban the sale of certain Apple products. The original measure was instigated by Apple’s rival Samsung over a patent issue. While the attempt to ban the sale of iPhone and iPad has been blocked, there is another reason besides patent infringement to ban such devices and all similar gadgets. The real reason iPhone and iPad should be banned is because they create a large host of mental and emotional problems in human beings. They are dangerously addictive, destroy kids’ ability to think critically, reduce social skills in children, and can potentially cause brain damage.
For years, physicians and psychologists have been warning of the destructive nature of electronic gadgets, especially when it comes to the potential those gadgets carry for extreme addiction. While the United States has been rather slow on the uptake with regard to realizing the addictive nature of electronics, many major cities in Asia have already set up in-person rehabilitation centers to deal with the ever-increasing dangers of technology addiction. Thus far, in the United States, there are one or two outpatient treatment facilities to help patients cope with internet and device addiction, but the existence of such establishments is little-known and the very idea of technology addiction is often ridiculed by self-described “technology evangelists.”
However, the fact that electronic gadgets such as the iPhone and iPad are highly addictive has been proven without a doubt by a growing body of evidence, including peer-reviewed studies. Scientists and medical professionals have been wise to the phenomenon of technology addiction for at least five years, but approaching the topic with gadget-obsessed Americans often turns from an intellectual discussion of this ever-expanding problem into a free-for-all of ridicule against people who want to initiate such a discussion.
Americans addicted to electronic gadgets are no different from heroin addicts; trying to stage an intervention with them often degenerates into baseless name-calling and ad hominem attacks as they continue to remain in denial about their problem and instead disparage the person trying to help. Getting a technology addict to admit a problem with gadgets is next to impossible. Try it, and you’ll be labeled a “Luddite,” “idiotic,” “old fashioned,” “an out of touch dinosaur,” and worse. While the tech addict is busy personally putting you down, another teenager has died in a texting-while-driving incident. Denial is a powerful deterrent to addressing life-threatening societal dangers.
Besides being very addictive, iPhones and iPads also have the potential to cause brain damage in children. Of course, parents don’t want to hear this, because it would mean they would have to pay more attention to their own offspring instead of sitting them, slack-jawed and drooling, in front of screens. If it keeps the kids quiet, parents are not going to give it up, no matter what the dangers.
Despite a robust body of research linking screens to brain damage, the mere suggestion of this truth invites scorn and even outrage from people who are terrified they might have to start interacting with their kids more frequently or that they will have to reduce the time they spend wasting on frivolous pursuits such as making modern photographs look vintage. (Isn’t here a certain irony in such a task?)
Besides addiction and brain damage, screens also cause an enormous list of other developmental problems, such as lack of self-esteem, the loss of critical thinking skills and the complete destruction of social skills like having real-life conversations and making eye contact.
These are the real reasons why gadgets like the iPhone and iPad should be banned, but of course, that will never happen. As long as Silicon Valley is making billions and parents can keep their kids quiet, any reference to reducing or eliminating electronic gadgets will be met with resistance and ridicule.
By: Rebecca Savastio