The Age of Never-Ending Internet Chats

Louis C.K.’s monologue about the downside of smartphones gets at the crux of the issue. “You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something,” he told Conan O’Brien in 2013. “That’s what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. That’s being a person.” In an effort to preserve the lost art of solitary thinking, it’s now de rigueur for people to go on a digital detox by quitting social media or imposing a no-screens rule after 6 p.m.

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Are smartphones making our children mentally ill?

Parents also need to think about what example they set their children by their own attachment to their smartphones. “We know all about the importance of childhood attachment and good healthy childhood relationships with parents. Yet, if you look in the local park, you see children at a very early age not getting the tender, intense love they used to because their parents are always on their smartphones. Put them down, and be with your kids from day one. They’re not getting what they need from us to build up their core sense of self and that can create the problems I see down the line.”

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Students used to take drugs to get high. Now they take them to get higher grades.

It’s still more than three months until finals, but there’s a whiff of panic in the air of the Edinburgh student flat where I’m having dinner. “Everybody’s feeling it,” says Suzy. Feeling what? “The pressure. There’s just so much pressure.” About what? Your exams? Or what to do next?

“Everything. I shouldn’t even be here. I didn’t even want to go to university but everyone said I should. And the work! It’s just… there’s so much of it! I feel like I wouldn’t even have a chance if it wasn’t for modafinil.”

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