Smartphone addiction is a major problem. Some studies say children in particular are spending 40% of their waking hours on the phone. A wide swath of the Eastern Townships, roughly stretching from Bromont to the US border are to be part of a radical experiment. Freezing the Internet for those 18 and under for 12 hours a day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sound impossible? Not so says the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) which polices Telecom practices in Canada.
“We have told the carriers (CRTC speak for the telecom firms) that we want to know who is using smartphones,” says Marie Poulin, vice- president of the CRTC. “We use algorithms to block signals to those phones for twelve hours a day. We know the age of people who are using the phones. If they switch to using their parents’ phones, we know they have switched.”
Children are not amused. “It’s disgusting. What right do they have to take away my smartphone. I need
it for learning and for security,” said a young person waiting for the school bus on Knowlton Road to take her to Massey-Vanier.
Security won’t be a problem, there is an algorithm to handle emergency texts. It is only 12 hours a day and weekends are open.
“If it works in this tranche of rural Quebec, we might spread it across the country,” says Ms. Poulin.
Phone-free days start on April 15.
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