Social media and gaming firms face a lawsuit for designing addictive digital products

Social media and gaming firms face a lawsuit in the UK for breaching children’s human rights. According to the lawyer who is in charge of the case, the damage caused by addictive devices to family life, from denying children sleep and a less active outdoor life to disrupting their schoolwork and mental well-being, amounts to a breach of article 8 of the Human Rights Act. The article states that ” Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence,”

The argument is that app developers design tricks are keeping children captive, rather than active, online. As a result, their autonomy and free will is being eroded, with huge consequences for their physical and mental development. Snapchat and Facebook denied they designed their products to be addictive and encourage people to develop positive and meaningful relationships off as well as online.



In the UK first child to be diagnosed with Internet Gaming Addiction

The NHS (National Health Service UK) has diagnosed for the first time a 15-year-old boy with Internet Gaming Addiction. The teenager from North London has been off school for a year after becoming addicted to gaming.

His mother, Miss Kendal Parmar, has battled for three years to have her son condition recognized and treated by the NHS. It comes only months after the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Internet Gaming as an official mental health disorder.

“I call it a silent addiction,” Kendal told The Telegraph. “If you were shooting up in a park, everyone would care a lot more because it disrupts society. If he was drunk and driving a motorbike, everyone would care. But no-one cares if he is sitting in his bedroom.”

Parents rules about technology use can weaken academic achievement, a new study finds

Parents are becoming more concerned by the negative effects of smartphones, social media and online gaming for their children. Excessive use can cause depression, lack of sleep and impulsive behavior in young people. For these reasons parents  set strict rules on how much time kids can spend in front of a screen.

However, according to a recent study by the University of Zurich, this could be detrimental to young people. Researcher Eszter Hargittai and her colleague Drew Ciongel wanted to know how such rules influence children’s academic performance when they are older.

The results are surprising: parents who restrict their children’s use of new media  may be acting unsuccessfully over a long period of time , particularly if they adduce homework time as the reason. Their children’s scholastic achievements at college lag behind the academic performance of same-age peers.

Researchers advise parents  to discuss proactively with their children and to spend time together using new technologies.