Device addiction leading to increase in youth violence against parents

Stuff 22 November 2020
Family First Comment: The unfortunate (but predicted) consequence of undermining parental authority through dumb laws. Plus the excessive (and uncontrolled) use of screentime in schools which feeds the addiction.

Addiction to electronic devices appears to be fuelling an increase in serious violence caused by young people within the family home.

Triggered by disputes over devices, when parents put their foot down to limit access to the internet the reaction can be extreme – leading to property damage, serious assaults and threats to kill.

Nelson lawyer John Sandston, who was formerly the New Zealand Law Society’s inaugural youth justice spokesperson and has been a youth advocate for 25 years, said the trend seemed to have “come out of nowhere”.

“I can’t think of a case [in the Youth Court] in the past year or two where it hasn’t related to either a gadget such as a phone, or a game, or internet usage.

“The impression from my work is there is a hell of lot of physical and verbal violence, where kids are reacting badly to boundary settings by parents around gadgets.”

Earlier in 2020, research conducted by digital watchdog Netsafe showed that almost half of Kiwi teenagers had had some conflict with family or friends because of time spent using the internet.

In a survey, 47 per cent of responders (aged between 13 and 17) said that they had either “very often” (14 per cent) or “sometimes” (33 per cent) experienced conflict with family or friends because of the time spent online. A further 32 percent said they gone without sleep and food because of the time spent online, and that 10 percent considered that the amount of time they spend online caused them problems.
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