From smartphones to neurons. An interview with Daniel Dziewit, addiction therapist.
During one of the club meetings, we conceived an idea to raise the issue regarding modern technology. A lecture entitled “From neurons to smartphones, or from disorder to addiction” was delivered at recent club meeting last year by Daniel Dziewit, author of i.a. ”a paper” smartphone ”Homo enter, czyli jak nie zostać złowionym”. After the speech, we talked to the author on a broader topic.
How was your experience of the event
I was surprised by the attentiveness and engagement of the participants, right after my lecture I had several interesting conversations, maninly with a smartphone manufacturer, which was particularly amusing. However, indicated issues are a distant perspective, which is not evident at the moment.
How do you think the mechanism of smartphone/computer addiction works when it comes to children?
In my publication, I refer to scientific research based on available sources and literature, which can be found at the end of the publication named “book-smartphone”. The mechanism is simple. The formation of the brain extends to the third decade of life. The limb, namely our head – we are not used to call it that way – is the most sensitive part of our body. It receives both negative and positive stimuli. Designers of various digital toys construct them in such way that it is easy to become addicted due to stimuli affecting neurons in the brain. In South Korea alone, there are already 400 digital coca detoxification centers for children and teenagers.
Will allowing a child to seat in front of a computer in order to study really make the child addicted to this device?
Too early initiation and sucking on a digital pacifier can lead to the “necessity” of online actictivities. Big Tech evidently speaks the language of benefits. When it comes to a shot of vodka, a pint of beer, or a psychotropic drug, or a bookmaker, addiction develops over certain period of time. This is unspecified process with unidefined boundaries, i.e. we don’t exactly know when a habit becomes an addiction. The correct name for it would be losing balance. So if the child did not spend too much time online before distance learning, the time spent in front of the computer would be a curiosity – something new, it is less likely that a monster will jump out of the monitor and pull the child inside. However, long periods of using a computer can increase child’s chance of developing disorders, arousing fears, frustration, a sense of being lost, etc.
What advice do you give to parents who may already be observing their children constantly demanding use the computer in order to, for example, play a game?
Some children kick, cry, blackmail or threaten others when adults try to restrict their access to the internet or a particular game. This is a signal that the child has been successfully manipulated and it is worth helping him or her – despite their anger – by finding alternative activities. The owners of large digital projects: Steve Jobs, the founder of Twetter and Blogger – Evan Williams, Lesley Gold – the founder of a large company related to technology or others for example great game designers – have introduced categorical bans and restrictions to their children on the principle “don’t take your own drugs”. They did not allow their children to use the tools they invented for the benefit of humanity. Greg Hochmuth, one of the creators of Instagram, realized that he was building an addiction machine. Some users become obsessed.
A crushing report was published by Ministry of Health of the United Kingdom, recognizing Instagram as the most destructive social network. It was not expected that Big Tech could have such a huge impact on the brain of recipients. Therefore, more and more often, some people in Poland talk about it openly and introduce positive changes for themselves, for the environment.
Where to start the changes?
The changes should start from the word “I don’t know”, that is, if you don’t know the answer to a certain question, it advisable to stop ourselves from looking for the answer online at times. If you eat dinner, you continue eating dinner. It’s trivial, simple and free of charge. In addition, it is worth reaching for books such as ”The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains” by Nicolas Carr, or ”Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids” by Nicholas Kardaras. I would like to point out that breaking away from internetoin is not easier than stopping taking cocaine.
Daniel Dziewit – in 2021 published the book ”Homo enter, czyli jak nie zostać złowionym”. The book was released in smartphone format. He is an addiction therapist, author, host of “Ocaleni” TV program.
Last Updated on February 9, 2023 by Valeriia Honcharuk