Italian government unveils plan to tackle smartphone addiction

AFP/The Local
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Italian government unveils plan to tackle smartphone addiction
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Italian government ministers have drafted a law aimed at preventing and treating the rising phenomenon of addiction to mobile phones and the internet, particularly among young people.


The bill seeks to treat the fear of not having access to a mobile phone - so-called "no-mobile-phone phobia" (also known as "nomophobia") – and anxiety over not having access to social networks or messaging apps.

It proposes education programmes for parents to detect excessive mobile phone use in children.

The bill also lays out plans for "education towards for a conscientious use of the internet and social networks" in schools and universities.


Nomophobia particularly affects young people, often preventing them getting a good night's sleep.

Half of Italians aged 15-20 consult their mobile phones at least 75 times a day, Italian media on Monday quoted research by the National Association of Technological Dependance as saying.

Around 61 percent of Italians use their tablet or mobile phone in bed, according to another report published in June, with the figure rising to 81 percent among 18-34 year olds.

However some 21.6 percent of Italians have no internet access at all, with the figure rising to 42.5 percent among over 65s, according to the most recent figures from Italian poll company Censis.

The ruling M5S said in its draft that mobile phone addiction is comparable to gambling addiction, causing "interference with dopamine production".

80 percent of Italian children aged between three and five are allowed to use their parents' smartphones, according to the Italian Pediatric Society, which also found that 30 percent of Italian parents use smartphones to “distract or quieten” babies under 12 months old.

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