Time to ring in the changes?

MP ques­tions use of mo­bile phones

Hamilton Advertiser - - FAIRHILL - Robert Mitchell

Of­ten when we see footage from the House of Com­mons, politi­cians in the back­ground can be seen on their phone.

Hamil­ton West MP Ger­ard Killen stood up in West­min­ster and drew at­ten­tion to it – and is now ques­tion­ing the ef­fects that the tech­nol­ogy is hav­ing on young peo­ple.

And while he wasn’t too hard on his col­leagues in Par­lia­ment for hav­ing their heads down, he did ask them last week if they could dis­cuss what it means for oth­ers.

Mr Killen said: “I note how many Mem­bers across the House are cur­rently face down with their smart­phone or tablet.

“I re­alise that they are all work­ing very hard and multi-task­ing, but there is now growing ev­i­dence about the link be­tween overuse of tech­nol­ogy such as smart­phones and poor men­tal health, par­tic­u­larly among young peo­ple.

“Can we have a de­bate in Gov­ern­ment time about what more can be done to get the big tech com­pa­nies to take this is­sue se­ri­ously?

The Leader of the House of Com­mons, An­drea Lead­som, was in agree­ment with the Labour MP.

She said: “I cer­tainly agree with the hon­ourable Gen­tle­man that we all spend far too much time on tech­nol­ogy, and that is par­tic­u­larly true of young peo­ple.

“It is in­ter­est­ing that a number of schools are now say­ing to their stu­dents that they can­not have their de­vices dur­ing the course of the day. That is a con­tentious sub­ject, but I cer­tainly sup­port such a move. He is right that it is a re­ally key is­sue. In a sense, we are un­der­tak­ing a mas­sive ex­per­i­ment, be­cause there is no reg­u­la­tion around this mat­ter. I en­cour­age him to seek a back­bench busi­ness de­bate so that all hon­ourable Mem­bers can share their views and per­haps we can then de­bate them with Min­is­ters.”

A re­port from the The Royal So­ci­ety for Pub­lic Health last year said: “The plat­forms that are sup­posed to help young peo­ple con­nect with each other may ac­tu­ally be fu­elling a men­tal health cri­sis.”

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