'Ban kids from using tech until they're six' says doctor
Children should be banned from using technology until the age of six to protect their mental health.
That’s the view Dr Ed Lynch, who has co-founded his own business designed to get young people to look after their mental fitness.
The 25-year-old is a doctor in the cardiology department at Whiston Hospital in Liverpool and said he had to do something after a close friend committed suicide.
Together with fifth year medical student Tobias Fox, he founded Sophron, which aims to force a culture shift in our relationship with tech.
The entrepreneurs say technology can be addictive and damaging to the user’s mental health, which is why they think children under the age of six shouldn’t be allowed to use tech at all.
Lynch said: “We want to completely revolutionise the wellness strategies in the UK to address the current concerns around technology. It’s completely unregulated and we don’t know the long-terms effects on the human brain.”
The doctor has worked with schools and has seen first-hand the impact of technology on young people.
“We find people are really struggling to focus with their lives when they come away from the tech,” he said. “They can’t engage with activities that aren’t as stimulating as when technology is involved. As a result their mental health takes a huge impact.
“It’s everything, AR, VR and social media. Everything that is more stimulating, right down to watching films. Watching films is fine but anything on your phone is too highly stimulating.”
“I’d like to see more engagement with real-life activities when people can develop proper emotional connections.”
One arm of Sophron is a digital platform called LifeLink ,which encourages people to live a more wellness lifestyle with users incentivised to be healthier by getting Sophron points.
The co-founders accept they could be accused of hypocrisy but insist their platform is different because it encourages people to put down their tech and do more real-life activities.
“It’s everything from improving physical fitness, eating healthier and engaging with nature,” said Tobias Fox.
“There are good points about technology. It connects us as to individuals. You could make the argument that we’re hyper-connected on a superficial level but under-connected at a deeper level. We’re striving to develop more meaningful, authentic relationships with people.
“You might have 300 friends on Facebook but how many of them do you have stimulating, engaging conversations with? How often do you do a proper activity with these people? The chances are you don’t.”