Sesame Street Airs PSA On Cell Phone Addiction. Now Will They Finally Pull Elmo’s Friend, “Smartie” The Smartphone From Their Program?

By B.N. Frank

From Mental Floss:

The PSA is brief, but it brings an important issue to light: The average smart phone owner touches their device 2600 times a day, and when they do, they get a small dopamine boost. That pleasurable feeling associated with phone use can lead to compulsive behaviors that look a lot like addiction.

You might be addicted to your mobile device if it starts interfering with your life—i.e. you would rather check your phone at dinnertime than interact with the real people at the table with you, the same thing the “Device Free Dinner” campaign is trying to prevent.

Sesame Street’s PSA is a step in the right direction.  Considering all the recent warnings about children and screen use and exposure (See 1, 2, 3) wouldn’t it be great if Sesame Street stopped airing segments that featured Elmo’s friend “Smartie” the smartphone too?

Certainly today’s children can learn about kindness and babies and everything else without using a smartphone, right?  Silicon Valley parents (aka tech inventors) have been limiting their own kids’ use of screens for many years already.  They are now taking even more desperate measures to shield them.  Hint hint.

Even with everything we are now learning and everything we already know, it’s unfortunate that telecom companies are still legally permitted to continue marketing technology to kids and their parents and schools anyway.

Marketing tech toys with Sesame Street logos also seems inappropriate.  Maybe Sesame Street should consider stopping that too.

Using technology in moderation is not how it’s being marketed, and it’s especially heinous when children are targeted.  Those of us old enough may remember how Big Tobacco created Joe Camel to market cigarettes to kids too.

Even after many lawsuits were won against the tobacco industry, companies still managed to delay corrections because they could afford to legally do so.

… more than 11 years after a federal court ordered it, tobacco companies will begin running frank ads on TV and in newspapers including the Inquirer to admit their products are deadly.  The companies fought for more than 11 years to weaken and delay the corrective statements requirement.

Will American parents continue going along with this for their kids with technology?

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Image credit: Pixabay

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