Oh, heck, why don't we just say "regulating 'cyber'" and have done with it.
Saints preserve us from "well-intentioned" politicians. This time around it's Josh Hawley, who wants to save us from social media addiction. I don't know anything about him. Wikipedia seems to indicate that he's a nice guy (except for that bit about not wanting people to have health care). OK, I'm with him so far. But the way he wants to do it is to make a simple fix. (Saints preserve us from "simple" solutions to complex problems.) He wants to limit how much "feed" you can get from a social media site on one go. Also limit your time on any given site to half an hour a day. (Ah, gee, Dad!)
Right. I think I see the problem here. You see, Hawley is a lawyer. Lawyers have to go to law school, so they are fairly smart. And they help people with problems, so they like to fix problems. All good so far. The problem is that lawyers get used to thinking they are smarter than other people (which is generally true), and that they can fix pretty much any problem (which is not true). In particular, they tend to start thinking they can start fixing problems they don't know anything about, especially when they pupate out of the larval (lawyer) stage and into full-grown politicians.
See, having a limit on how much socmed you can get in one go probably won't solve anything. And it's going to be a nuisance for many. Yesterday I had a meeting downtown. So, since I use Twitter for news, I went to my favorite bus stop, fired up Twitter, scrolled down as far as I could go, hopped on the 210 when it came, and noted which stories I wanted to read (later) all the way to the meeting. Which usually takes an hour. It would have been annoying to be limited to enough to cover just a few blocks. Not very effective use of my time.
(Nor, when I come to think of it, very possible. I mean, I was only "on" Twitter for the few minutes it took to load the feed. Is he going to make Twitter, and all other apps, cut off after being on screen for 30 minutes? How's that going to work for people with perceptual disabilities, who need more time to read things?)
And the sweet young thing beside me, following all of her friends and their latest "haul" videos, is not going to be limited by having to refresh the screen every few entries. She's doing that anyway. It just means that she's going to be refreshing the screen at some point when she should be watching for that car coming through the intersection where she's crossing the street. Plus, after she gets finished with Instagram, she'll be onto Whatapp, and then Facebook, and then ... well, you get the picture.
Sorry, Josh. You haven't solved anything.
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