Bill Gates and Steve Jobs knew about the dangers of smartphones and social media

Business Insider released an article that acknowledges the “anti-social media” phenomenon I’ve been writing about for years.

Most keen technologists, including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, recognize the social and societal detriment caused by social media. When social media is combined with take-it-anywhere smartphone technology, the negative effects are much more potent.

Some key quotes from the article:

Research has found that an eighth-grader’s risk for depression jumps 27% when he or she frequently uses social media. Kids who use their phones for at least three hours a day are much more likely to be suicidal. And recent research has found the teen suicide rate in the US now eclipses the homicide rate, with smartphones as the driving force.

It was easy to deduce this from first principles, but now there is relevant data to back up these claims.

In “Screen Schooled,” Clement and Miles make the case that wealthy Silicon Valley parents seem to grasp the addictive powers of smartphones, tablets, and computers more than the general public does — despite the fact that these parents often make a living by creating and investing in that technology.

Much like the tale of Frankenstein, the engineers and designers of social media and smartphones knew they were making a monster.  The addictiveness is by design (I recently wrote a four part series of articles related to this).

It is like the tobacco and drug industry that relies on its users weaknesses and dependence to keep their sales going.

The article suggests regulation as well, but as I mentioned in that series of articles, you don’t need to regulate to punish those that can use smartphones and social media in moderation. Just make the dangers of social media common knowledge — knowledge that technologists like Gates and Jobs already had.

For most people, as with drug and drinking habits, cold turkey is the way to go to rid themselves of social media’s side effects.

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