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By: Bernadine Bolivar
img, .hide-comment-buttons #singleCommentHeader .formContainer >.title, .hide-comment-buttons #loginButtonContainer display: none; /* Expandable MPU fix */ #side .x300 overflow: visible!important; /* Collapsing Skyscraper fix */ .ad div.skyscraper height:auto!important;padding:0px!important; .ad div#mpu.skyscraper height:600px!important; Sarah Vine says allowing under 16s to use smartphones is 'just as toxic' as underage drinking, sex and illegal drug taking - People - News - The Independent Thursday 21 May 2015

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Aung San Suu Kyi Bahar Mustafa High Heels at Cannes George Osborne Greece Michael Gove News >People Sarah Vine says allowing under 16s to use smartphones is 'just as toxic' as underage drinking, sex and illegal drug taking The columnist believes young teens should be banned from using them
Jenn Selby Jenn Selby Jenn Selby is People Editor for the Independent website
More articles from this journalist Wednesday 20 May 2015
Print Your friend's email address Your email address Note: We do not store your email address(es) but your IP address will be logged to prevent abuse of this feature. Please read our Legal Terms & Policies A A A Email Sarah Vine has called for a ban on the use of smartphones for the under 16s.
The Daily Mail columnist and wife of new justice secretary Michael Gove likened use of the devices by teenagers to drug taking, underage drinking and sex.
Citing new research performed by the London School of Economics on the detrimental effect mobiles have on the performance of children aged 14 to 16, she wrote:
I want to see a ban on the use of smartphones among under-16s altogether.
Why? Simple. Society has a duty to shield young brains from adult experiences they are either too immature to understand, or which might do long-term developmental damage.
You would be mortified if you discovered your 12-year-old drinking alcohol, smoking, taking drugs or having sex.
Yet millions of parents every day allow their children to leave home with something just as toxic and, I would argue, just as damaging as any of these things: a smartphone.
But its not the non-stop stream of data creating a permanent distraction, nor the seeming loss of more sociable methods of communication, that troubles Vine the most about the technology.
What most horrifies me is the way smartphones take normal, healthy children and turn them into zombies whose principal pre-occupations are not schoolwork, riding a bike or even following the latest chart-toppers, but checking how many likes their Instagram picture has amassed, or whether their latest video has amassed sufficient comment.
The 10 best smartphones
At a time when young minds should be questioning and expanding, their horizons shrink to one tiny, glowing screen. Forget great art, travel, conversation: all they want to know is whats the wifi code and where can I get the best signal?
If these devices were age-restricted, the benefits to the next generation would not just be academic, but physical and psychological, too, she concludes.
I know age restriction would never fully resolve the issue - just as the ban on selling cigarettes to under-18s doesnt stop them all from smoking. But, Lord knows, we have to start somewhere.
Her comments follow that of psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist's in April. The former Oxford teacher, who retrained as a doctor, claimed that smartphones were making children borderline autistic.
Read More: Vine Criticises David Cameron's Cabinet Shuffle
Michael Gove Wanted To Bring Back Hanging In 90s
Vine Attacks Gay Campaigner Jack Monroe For Having Child

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