From encouraging suicide to giving young people an unhealthy addiction to staring at smartphones, digital technology has been accused in recent days of doing more harm than good.

On Tech Tent we explore the impact of the internet on our mental health – and meet two people with different solutions for dealing with stress.

In the UK this week the harmful effects of social media have been highlighted by the case of 14-year-old Molly Russell, who took her own life in 2017.

Her father believes the graphic images of self-harm she saw on Instagram and other social media sites helped kill his daughter.

After mounting pressure to act, Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – now says it will remove graphic self-harm images. Its boss Adam Mosseri said some material in which people related their experiences of recovery would remain but would be harder to find.

The other debate has been about the harmful effects of spending too long staring at smartphones and other devices. There was government advice on the issue of screen time this week from the UK’s four chief medical officers, including England’s Sally Davies.

She admitted there was little academic research on whether excessive time looking at screens was harmful but had a few simple rules. Children should not spend more than two hours at a time on screens and should not be allowed to take phones to bed. As for adults, they should set a good example by putting their phones away at mealtimes.

But Cal Newport thinks we all need to rethink our relationship with our devices. His new book Digital Minimalism is all about making technology work for you and not the other way round…Read more: Tech Tent: Is the internet bad for us? 

 – Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News: Technology


Image source: Pixabay