14 December 2023, by Emily Proctor

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted in favour of a proposal by MP Kim van Sparrentak to ban the addictive features seen in many smartphone apps used today. 

EU lawmakers want to ban the addictive nature of smartphone apps

Van Sparrentak told RTL Nieuws, “if we don’t intervene now, [phone addiction] will have an effect on people’s mental health and even brain development of the generations of the future”. The problem of mobile phone addiction has been on the minds of many medical professionals and policymakers as the number of people suffering with phone addiction rises. According to several studies, the number of young people suffering with phone addiction is as high as one in four. 

The European Commission now needs to draft a bill to state how the new law could tackle the problem, including a possible ban on addictive app features on mobile phones. Another option that is currently on the table is to have addictive and attention-grabbing settings turned off as the default setting.

Dutch MEP Van Sparrentak doesn’t believe that “discipline” is enough

The MEP behind the proposal has said that she doesn’t believe that the responsibility should be placed on phone users to have “discipline”, rather, that companies need to make their technology less addictive. 

“No self-discipline can compete with the tricks of big tech companies, which employ armies of psychologists,” she said. “Why do we still accept that?”, she added.

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