Kids Use Mobile Phones Too Much? Send 'Em To A Mental Hospital

from the seems-a-bit-extreme dept

We’ve noted in the past the, well, addiction some people have to calling any sort of regular usage of something an “addiction.” It’s quite common with all sorts of technologies. Often there doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence of an addiction — or, if there is, it usually becomes clear that the problem is somewhere else, and the people simply turn to technology to avoid that other issue in their lives. Either way, it still seems a bit extreme to hear that, in Spain, parents have sent two children, aged 12 and 13, to a mental hospital to try to help “cure them” of their mobile phone “addiction.” As parents, what was wrong with just taking away their mobile phone?

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Comments on “Kids Use Mobile Phones Too Much? Send 'Em To A Mental Hospital”

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Yosi says:

You can't cure addict by "taking away"

Assuming for a purpose of discussion that it is indeed an addiction, it can’t be solved by “just taking away”. That’s not how addiction (of any kind) work. That’s why it’s called “addiction” on a first place.

Human mind is quite complicated thing, and as being such, it can develop addiction to various things/objects/activities. There are sex addicts, gambling, running, killing, cleaning etc etc etc.

Mike, if you unfamiliar with the subject, why write nonsense?

mobiGeek says:

Re: You can't cure addict by "taking away"

First, Mike is questioning whether there is an “addiction” at all…quite a valid question seeing as we’re talking about adolescents and a technology toy.

And it isn’t “nonsense” to use taking-away as a first step towards determining the true depth of the problem.

The bigger issue here appears to be that the parents waited until the problem got so bad that grades were drastically affected. Now it is possible that the parents are using the addiction centre as a point of last resort, but if so that information is a major gap in the reporting.

Anonymous Coward says:

It is actually quite common for parents to avoid their own responsibilities and try to get someone else to handle their problems. The parents should be punished in this case for not handling the problem themselves. Some liberal will say this is a genetic predisposition towards cell phone addiction. Yeah, that does sound stupid doesn’t it? Take the kids phones away and send the parents to counseling to learn how to deal with their kids.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why is it always so common for Americans to attack “liberals” when something happens or an opinion is held that they don’t agree with?

I consider myself to be liberal, and I say punish the damn parents if they can’t control their own offspring. If taking away a 12 year old’s phone (a luxury item for a kid if ever there was one) causes so many problems, something has gone very wrong in the last 12 years of raising the child.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:

Because many people are not happy unless they have someone to hate. Now that race and gender are not socially acceptable differences upon which to base stereotypes and hateful prejudice, and large number of Americans have turned to political affiliation. On that division, stereotypes thrive, and are perpetuated by the media.

So, Paul, in answer to your question, one of the stereotypes of liberals is that they like to take responsibility for one’s behavior off of the individual, and blame it instead on some vague condition, predisposition, or disadvantage. I think this has less to do with liberal/conservative arguments than it has to do with whether someone is afflicted by what I call the “victim complex.” That is, people who look for reasons to be victims. They exist througout the whole spectrum of politics. However, I do think it is accurate to say that they are more often attracted to the liberal side because of the more socialist, “government-should-take-care-of-me” attitude that persists in many outspoken liberals.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I knew someone would make a comment like that, so I guess I should have added this disclaimer to begin with:

I never said I agreed with the stereotype. I simply said it exists.

Personally, I think I made it clear that I think such stereotypes are ridiculous, and no different, really, than racism. They are just directed at a different trait. Just like your own assumption that conservatives blame their problems on “god” or “acts of nature”. (“Acts of nature” – huh??)

mobiGeek says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I never made a statement about any particular group.

I don’t view “conservatives” as being bound to that stereotype. Heck I even like a few “conservatives”.

Though many who portray that stereotype like to consider themselves as “conservative”, it just so happens that those people tend not to be very conservative in their thinking (growing governments, eroding of rights, keep the children safe, but-it’s-okay-when-i-do-it, etc…)

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Agreed. I am very conservative in a lot of my beliefs, but Republicans I know have actually called me a “traitor.” Sorry, but I refuse to take a radical package deal. I believe what I believe, and if a particular belief happens to get labeled “liberal,” I’m not going to change my mind. How certain issues become politically aligned is beyond me, anyway. For example, why are environmental issues liberal? They are what they are, and liberal/conservative has (or should have) absolutely NOTHING to do with it.

mobiGeek says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

The issues don’t become aligned; the pundits align themselves to issues.

Unfortunately, a good portion of the population let the pundits do their thinking (and voting) for them.

The environment can be spun either way: conservatives could rally around the potential economic gains or the potential economic losses. But pundits have labeled it a “liberal hippie issue” and avoid any serious discussion beyond the “celebrity” the environment issue has gained.

Llama says:

This is extreme...

even if you cant cure an addict by “taking away,” The major point in the article is that there are few people addicted to the phone. They are just trying to avoid other social/mental problems. And honestly why would you send your kid to a mental institution just cause he’s running up the phone bill with texting? That’s just not logical in itself

Troy (profile) says:

Re: Re: This is extreme...

I believe that is exactly the point that Mike is trying to make. It is not an addiction and the first thing a parent should try to do is to stop enabling the behavior by removing the phone. If, in fact it is later found to be an actual addiction then the parents would have done the right thing by removing the object of the addiction.

SteveD says:


There isn’t enough information on the circumstances to guess at the underlying issues (assuming there are some). It mentions that the parents tried limiting their children but that lead to the kids lying to relatives to get cash.

That could mean two things; either the parents have no control over their kids at all, or whatever is going on is causing behaviour unusual enough to warrant some sort of addiction counselling.

The problem with articles like this is that a lot of context is lost in favour of sensationalism, and this gets a reaction from people with pro-tech perspectives that are sick of modern technology getting blamed for all of society’s problems.

Bob Hickey says:

Kids; cell phones

Ever since the invention of the rehab. everything has suddenly become an addiction. It’s a cure in search of a disease. There is an increasing number of parents that have no intention of raising their kids; they just hire sitters, nannys etc. then boarding school. In this case, I have to wonder why they didn’t just cancel the contract on the cell; are they afraid that the kid might throw a tantrum or hate them or something?

Abdul Koroma says:

Re: Kids; cell phones

I think you hit the point spot on! Many parents don’t have the intention to raise their kids and i can bet you that those parents took them to the mental hospital just to reneged on their responsibility of providing quality parenting. But on the idea of internet addiction, do you see it as a bad one. This article seems to believe that internet addiction can be good:Internet Addiction Is Good For You (

TheDock22 says:


The article is pretty unclear about how bad the addiction was, but the rehab center even said their behavior was extreme and they never said these kids didn’t need help.

It is hard to say if the parents could have really done anything. I mean, when a child has a psychological addiction (gambling, sex, etc.) it is hard to reason with them without professional help.

I guess what I am saying is nobody here knows how bad it was, so to automatically call these people bad parents is asinine and very foolish.

Shane says:

> Why is it always so common for Americans to attack
> “liberals” when something happens or an opinion is held that
> they don’t agree with?

Whoa! That’s the conservatives you’re talking about, not Americans in general. It’s their limited intellect and diminished capacity for logic and reason that makes them attack ideas they don’t understand or agree with. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of them here and they can vote.

Point is, don’t blame all Americans for the behaviour of some of our citizens.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re:

Boy, wasn’t that just the pot calling the kettle black. All conservatives must be stupid idiots because they call me names when I don’t agree with them. You can pretend that your attitude is reasonable because it is based on politics. You have the right to it, I guess. But just own up to what it really is: flat-out bigotry.

My parents are staunch liberals. My grandparents are even stronger conservatives. I love them all, and neither is a better or worse person. This is America. It is okay for someone to disagree with you. You don’t have to hate them for it.

Matt says:

Re: Re:

The problem with this country isn’t conservatives or liberals. In fact, there isn’t a problem, other than the fact that everyone seems to think they are the first generation to experience partisan politics, corruption, floods, high utility prices, radically new technology, etc.
As for this article, the kids appear to be “addicted” to constant connection with others. That may, in fact, be a phenomenon on the horizon. When I first had a cell phone people got mad at me for not always having it turned on. We are expected to use our ability to be connected to stay connected 24/7. Left unchecked this idea becomes the behavior manifested in the two children.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why do twelve and thirteen year olds have cell phones? They don’t have an income. They have no credit history. They can’t open a cell account. I’m a software engineer in my 30s and I didn’t even need a cell until I finally broke down and bought one two years ago. If they really need to talk on the phone that much, buy a cheap landline for the kids to share without the risk of ruining your credit by racking up a thousand dollar bill talking to fucking nobody.

Someone with says:

Liberals and Conservatives


You make a good point that not all Americans should be blamed for the actions of a few.

However, this argument can be aplieded to the liberals as well. There are liberals who would say that “this is a genetic predisposition towards cell phone addiction”, however this is not what all liberals belive.

Trerro says:


“buy a cheap landline for the kids to share without the risk of ruining your credit by racking up a thousand dollar bill talking to fucking nobody.”

Landlines aren’t cheap. They’re about $30/month, with asinine long distance fees for calling someone 20 miles away. Compare to cell phones which are usually $40/month with anything in your country considered to be a local call, and assume you want to call even one person that doesn’t live right next to you, and the cell phone is cheaper. Personally, I ditched my landline for a cell phone, not the other way around.

Also, most cell phone companies offer accounts with a spending limit on them, so you can block your kid from running up a bill – whereas you can’t do that if he decided to talk to a friend on the other side of the country for a few hours while getting billed by the minute on your landline. If you don’t think he HAS friends on the other side of the country, then you clearly aren’t very familiar with the internet. 🙂

There’s nothing wrong with a kid having a cell phone – sure, he most definitely doesn’t need one, but he doesn’t need most of his toys either. The key, as with all things, is decent parenting and exercising moderation.

We don’t have the full details of the story, but we DO know that grades were falling for months before the parents acted, and that’s just plain bad parenting. Yes, there’s flukes where a kid will flunk a single test and otherwise do fine in school… but when it’s consistent failing for weeks straight, obviously there’s a problem somewhere, and the parents should be trying to fix it – not waiting until it’s so bad that they want to commit the kid.

Passing Notes says:

Talking in Class

I really don’t think this is much different than when I was in elementary school and kids passed notes or talked in class to other kids. It was just easier for the teacher to catch such behaviors and correct them or have a parent teacher conference. The kids who passed notes and talked all the time did bad in school.

Kids today can now easily text each other and appear as if they are paying attention in class. So it might be harder and take a bit longer to figure out the kid isn’t paying attention then it would before cell phones. I would tend to think it’s more a attention deficit order or hyper activity that is causing their behavior and the phone is just the means. It’s just modern age note passing.

leftystrat (user link) says:


Much as I hate to interrupt this liberal vs conservative off-topic goodness, I have another angle.

We don’t ever have to worry about it here. It’s not a matter of blame, parents, liberals, or conservatives. I speak of the One True Enemy, the Evil Empire, the (mis)managed behavioral healthcare insurers.

One whiff of trying to admit anyone for an addiction will generate a hearty laugh and a suggestion to go to an AA group meeting.

In good old America, you can’t get into the Happy Place unless you’re prepared to kill yourself. Merely saying so isn’t good enough either – you have to tell them HOW you want to do it and that you want to do it NOW.

Since cell phone addiction probably ranks somewhere under suicide in the Insurance Manual, you don’t stand a chance.

This happy news brought to you by Congress and their mental health parity legislation. The only way mental/physical will get parity is if the E/R has to get a precert to cast your broken leg and it gets denied.

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