Children have gone into rehab due to internet addiction, and Lily Allen says she spends five hours a day on Twitter. How do we deal with this?

When Jean-Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people”, he was clueless. Social media did not yet exist. Now we all know how hellish other people are, no matter how heavenly their Instas. And we know not what we do. Or at least that’s how the internet is still spoken of, as something newish, out of control and worrying. The gnattish attention spans of adults, the limited vocabulary of children, social isolation, Trump, eating disorders, the “alt-right”. All of these are because of the damned old internet. Limiting the time your kids spend online is now a signifier of middle-class parenting is now limiting to limit the time your kids spend online. Really? This is like buying them wooden toys they never play with.

We still seem to have no real handle on how we talk about the online world apart from this narrative of fear, addiction and excess. At this stage of the game, I wonder how useful this is. A nine-year-old girl has reportedly been put into rehab for an Xbox addiction so bad that she would rather sit in her own urine than stop for a...


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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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