Tag Archive for 'smartphone'

Sinner has reduced the mobile uses, and you?

Today it is almost a duty to talk about Sinner, who has become the world number one in tennis.

Many things have been said about him, but I would like to focus on an apparently small change that he has declared to have made: “I use my phone less.”

In recent days, I have written about the negative change this had on a population in the Amazon. Instead, now we become aware that Sinner’s success, composed of a thousand details, is also due to this small change.

So let’s try to reflect on the influence of the smartphone in our daily lives; we certainly don’t need to aspire to be a champion to control its use and its relative frequency.

Let’s try to ask ourselves:

  • How much time do I spend using it each day?
  • What are the reasons I use it?
  • Do I use it for work or as a pastime?
  • What could I do instead of consulting the smartphone?
  • How long has it been since I last read a book?
  • When I am with others, do I keep consulting it?
  • What could I do instead of its frequent use?

How athletes use social media

Studies on athletes’ use of social media highlight both positive experiences and implications (e.g., team support, motivation, image management, and connection) and negative ones (e.g., criticism, obligations, and anxiety). It’s important to note that these studies explicitly focus on social media, which represents only one aspect of smartphone use.

A study on Canadian athletes revealed a weekly smartphone usage frequency of 32 hours, with social media being the most used application, exceeding other types of usage by 7 hours. This highlights a strong presence of these activities throughout the week, likely surpassing the number of hours dedicated to training.

This research detailed specific aspects of the relationship athletes can have with their smartphones. These findings need to be confirmed by further studies but are consistent with what is described about adolescents. Athletes report using Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, music, and organizational tools such as the calendar, alarm, and email applications. 81% reported using it in a moderate or almost always-intensive manner.

Intensive users reported always having their smartphones with them or nearby and using the device for “everything” during the day. They described the need to constantly check and respond to notifications immediately. Moderate users identified themselves in similar terms to intensive smartphone users, with the difference that they regularly tried to monitor their smartphone use and reduce unhelpful smartphone habits. Conversely, light users reported feeling the need to use their phones only for essential tasks and otherwise feeling able to separate and ignore the device without feeling obligated to respond to messages, calls, or notifications.

The greatest paradox expressed by the athletes concerns the experience of being separated from their smartphones. Many identified deliberately taking a “break” from the phone as a source of relief. However, this relief is present only when the athletes are not expecting important information via their phones. If the smartphone separation is forced (e.g., forgetting the phone, the phone freezing), it can induce a state of anxiety and/or panic. One athlete explained her dichotomous position: “I think I am calmer when I know I don’t need it. Because I know if I need it, then I keep checking it, becoming anxious… It’s a mix between freedom and anxiety. It’s the freedom of simply not having the phone. And then anxiety, of course, if you’re waiting for something.”

It is clear that university athletes use their smartphones to manage roles and demands in multiple contexts (e.g., sports, school, home), and therefore, simply focusing on the negative implications of use does not recognize the entire range of athletes’ interactions with their phones. Based on this data regarding smartphone use in the sports context, it is recommended that sports psychologists, coaches, and athletes avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to usage rules.

Age to access at social media

To those who are still convinced that the use of cell phones and social media by children and adolescents is an absolutely positive thing, they can read this news.

The city of New York has provided an example of what can be done globally by initiating legal proceedings against three social media giants: TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube. They are accused of exacerbating the mental health crisis among children and adolescents by exploiting their vulnerability to generate addiction to their platforms. Mayor Eric Adams has filed this lawsuit, which echoes a similar legal action initiated in California in 2022. The complaint focuses on aggressive marketing tactics and algorithms that, according to the accusation, “attract, trap, and fuel addiction in young people,” exposing them to harmful content.

Florida, on the other hand, has decided that platforms are required to close accounts that are believed to be used by children under 14, while teenagers who are already 14 or 15 years old can have a profile only with parental consent.

In France, Macron has established a commission on these issues which has reached the following proposals. According to the commission, the use of smartphones and tablets must be regulated according to age. In summary, the rules are as follows: an absolute ban on screens before the age of 3, a ban on cell phones before the age of 11, a ban on the internet before the age of 13, a ban on access to social media before the age of 15, and between the ages of 15 and 18, access only to “ethical” social networks, excluding Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Telegram. The experts have also called for a fight against so-called “predatory services” that connect users with the start of automatic video streams, mostly characterized by scenes of pornography and violence. This is a sort of guide particularly for parents, whose individual responsibility is directly called into question.

In Italy, the minimum age for registering on social networks is 14, while 18 years are required to conclude an online contract for a specific application or to join a community. In other words, children under 14 cannot register on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and all other social networks. However, there is a clause that would allow them to join social platforms as users. Children under 14 can, in fact, have access if they obtain parental consent. The problem is that the dangers of the web are many and the youngest are often unaware of them. Driven by the group and the community, they decide to surf and register on social media to feel part of something and to emulate the older ones.

These are examples of how many institutions are moving to curb the problems generated by the use of smartphones among young people and how the perception of the gravity of this phenomenon is becoming increasingly evident in the Western world.

World Health Org: 80% of adolescents is not active enough