When before Christmas it became known that a parliamentary commission of inquiry had concluded a survey on the relationship between smartphones and young people, saying that mobile phones are like cocaine and that young people are decerebrate, I asked myself in which country we live. And in which century.
Not that you underestimate the risks of digital revolution, but it is not by spreading panic that one can educate to a more conscious and responsible use. So in view of Safer Internet Day, the World Day of Safety on the Internet, which is celebrated today in a hundred countries, I asked a research institute (SWG) to tell me everything about the relationship they have with smartphones, not only young people, but also us adults.
The emerged absolute centrality of this tool in our lives, its indispensable role for getting information, shopping, working, learning. Hence the discomfort at the idea of doing without it, but also everyone’s awareness that a more moderate use (turning it off sometimes, filter notifications and phone calls) would improve our lives. To everyone, not just the young.
The question of children is more delicate: 3 out of 4 use it when they are between 6 and 9 years old. This is a huge number, which goes hand in hand with the fact that too many parents, between 20 and 30%, declare that they leave their mobile phones with young children without any supervisionwithout exercising any supervision. Telefono Azzurro is asking to raise the minimum age for being on the Internet to 16 (today it is 13). And the Privacy Guarantor proposes to impose on the big ones digital platforms a real check of the age of the users. I’m not convinced it’s the right way, but we’ll talk about it.
I think the problem goes in the meantime brought back into families: it is above all up to the parents to manage this delicate phase of the growth of the children: there are various tools to check the time, schedules, the type of sites visited, the apps used and the contacts on our young children’s smartphones. Leave them alone on the Internet when they are still children it’s like leaving them alone in a square they don’t know and then complain to the police if anything happens to him.