Italy Wants to Send Teens to Rehab to Treat Phone Addicts Like Drug Addicts

The legislation is drawing both supporters and opponents, as Italy's government attempts to confront what it sees as a widespread addiction.

New legislation pitched by Italy’s populist Five Star government would seek to identify and  treat phone-addicted teens.

Whether it would prove to be good or bad policy is yet to be seen, but the bill once again casts a light on some of the pitfalls of teens’ attachment to technology.

One of the party’s members, Vittoria Casa, who submitted the bill, likened excessive phone use to gambling, saying there’s a pressing need to send kids to counseling, or even to rehab.

“We agree with studies showing that expecting ‘likes’ for posting on social media triggers the chemical dopamine in the brain. It’s the same as gambling,” Casa said.

Cell phone accounts would be monitored, to flag who they deem are at-risk teens.

“Half of Italians aged 15-20 check their phones at least 75 times a day and 62 per cent of teenagers are messaging late into the night,” according to The Sun.

Casa, a former teacher from Sicily, said the sleep deprivation leaves students fatigued, with lackluster attention spans, as they attend class early in the morning.

However, according to Business Insider:

“Oxford psychologist Andrew Przybylski said the proposed law was a bad idea, and pointed to tech ‘addiction boot-camps’ in China.”

The fate of the bill will be decided in the coming weeks.

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