Guernsey Press

Do phones do more harm than good?

THERE is no doubt that smartphones have revolutionised our lives.


What was once merely a device for making phone calls is now essentially a pocket computer, including all your entertainment, information and communication needs. We can take photographs, watch films, listen to music, pay for goods, make video calls, attend virtual meetings, monitor how many steps we’ve walked and much more, all at the touch of a button. There is an app for almost anything you can think of.

But all these benefits have come at a cost. The constant connectivity is not only a time-guzzling distraction, but there is evidence that the endless scrolling and algorithms, which can send users down rabbit holes of increasingly extreme content, are affecting people’s mental health. Social media in particular has been deliberately designed to be powerfully addictive, which means that even when people are self-aware enough to recognise the damage their phone is doing to them, they struggle to stop, like a drug addict trying to go cold turkey.

And if all this is true of adults, how much worse must it be for children, whose brains are still developing?

Many might think that Ladies’ College principal Daniele Harford-Fox is going too far by calling for smartphones to be banned completely for under-16s. After all, they are now so ubiquitous that it’s hard to imagine life without them. But if they are indeed harming our children, surely we ought to be doing something about it?

As Conservative MP Miriam Cates, who has led the charge in Parliament to ban social media and smartphones for children, said back in January: ‘No sane society can let this continue.’

Could Guernsey feasibly lead the way?