How could a government go about changing a young persons dependence on mobile phones

The addiction to mobile phones by teenagers and young adults is an epidemic. Everywhere you look young people are glued to their screens. No one talks to each other.

How could governments change this behaviour without outright bans. What could they do to the technology to make it change this addiction. Something surreptitious and gradual.

Sounds like a job for parents, not government.

How about they do nothing?

Meh. As long as they stay off my lawn.

Or, assuming they’re going to do something, let’s start with proving that any of the observed behavior is harmful in any way, which is not a given.

They talk to each other all the time, they just do it based on shared interests, not shared geography.

The same way they’re trying to crack down on teenage smoking. Raise the price so fewer and fewer people can afford to do it, and restrict the number of places where someone can do it. I’m sure there are a few technological tricks that could be thrown in, as well.

Hate to break it to you, but its pandemic across all ages, not just those under 25.

But hey, your grandparents said the same thing about television when it first came out.

In fact, there probably are grandparents who are just as addicted to smartphones.

No, that was my parents. My grandparents were concerned about the debilitating effects of listening to the radio.

What’s worse, they’re telling jokes they read in Captain Billy’s Whiz-Bang!

What do you think they’re doing on their screens?

People have been complaining about new communications technology ever since there has been new communications technology.

Cartoon from 1906 about the impact of wireless telegraphy.

Anti-Obama phones?

From a book I found when I was cleaning out my folk’s house. Book is circa 1950s:
Some things never change.

According to my daughter, they’re texting each other, or looking up something one of them just mentioned, and they’re going to post links to it to each other. When I go over to her house to watch Survivor with her and her friend, they’re both on their phones the whole time, looking up quotes and trivia about what just happened on the show.

No. Just, no.

They are communicating, they’re just not communicating to you. Is that the problem? Do you feel neglected because you can’t harass the people around you now?

Or are you a government person who worries that they are actually communicating about things you don’t want them to talk about?

In the U.S. at least, the government is not supposed to make laws limiting people’s ability to communicate. That’s what you’re talking about here, so no, it shouldn’t happen.

If the government really wanted to screw with teenage phone use while maintaining a veneer of propriety, they would make a law that severely punishes delivery systems for the delivery of an illegal message. So if you used facebook, twitter, email, or instant message to send hate speech, threats, or child pornography (read: under 17 dick pic) then the message carrier would be legally required to permaban you or face the consequences as if they had sent the content themselves. People across the country would find themselves without access to these services - particularly young, reckless people.

Some tightly defined loosening of the ban on jamming might help in some way. For example, jam cell frequencies in classrooms and limit wifi access to approved academic uses and internet calls to 911.

I’m certain that my mother, a grandmother to three, uses her phone more than I do. She’s mostly playing games and using Facebook.

I hardly ever use my phone. So there’s that.

~Max