The Tech companies have vast amounts of money. Many of those dealing with the problem of smartphones would swap off an investment in UK AI or in UK universities etc. for the health of young girls. Their advisors would say "get real minister".

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I am very much in favour of a ban on smartphones in schools: I have never understood why the burden of proof is on people to prove they shouldn't be there, rather than on those who think they should. I am inclined to believe that social media etc. has worsened mental health. It is worth pointing out, however, that the data are a little less clear than Haidt/Twenge sometimes suggest and there are issues of nation vs nation comparison (the case seems much stronger for the US than other developed countries). Stuart Ritchie and Tom Chivers did a good episode on this for The Studies Show, which is well-worth a listen.

P.S. the bottomless soup-bowl experiment is a bit tricky. Wansink's research in general ... hasn't held up all that well (to put it mildly) - it looks as though the soup experiment does replicate (with a smaller effect than he suggested), but crucially only once you exclude the (very large!) number of people who notice their soup bowl is refilling, which rather changes the inferences that can be made from the whole business. There is write up by Stuart Ritchie here - https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/technology/why-you-keep-eating-whats-in-front-of-you-even-after-youre-full/ar-AA1koI8T

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> The invention of ‘infinite scroll’ social media reminds me of the famous Bottomless Soup Bowl experiment.

The experiment that was published with purported data that were impossible, by a researcher whose career output collapsed catastrophically as soon as anyone checked on it?


Perhaps that might not be the best support for a platform?

> in my opinion, this paper should be retracted. A lot of soup-related history should be re-written.

> This isn’t just a matter of suspicion being congruent to the massive amount of corrections and retractions the author has already garnered. The numbers central to the conclusions of the paper do not describe distributions which can exist in a rational universe.

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I know how sincere and well intentioned these people are, but it's just not going to happen, not now. This is a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle. Can you imagine the resistance? No, we're just going to have work how to deal with it, as individuals and as a society.

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I’m not so certain that nothing can be done. I think there is a desire amongst parents and children for smart phones to be taken out of the equation, but that would require some form of ‘cover’ so they would not feel that in doing so the children are ‘missing out’. The situation does to me have a parallel to smoking. If there is a societal wish to change the narrative, it can happen, nut that will be in the face of fierce opposition from the Tech companies.

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