Former MEP for Midlands North West
Former MEP for Midlands North West

MEP backs call for EU rules on smartphone addiction

An Irish MEP has backed calls for new EU rules to tackle smartphone addiction.

It follows a vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Tuesday December 12th), highlighting the adverse effects of addictive design on young people.

Fine Gael’s Colm Markey pointed out that social media features such as endless scrolling or automatic feeds, can lead to physical, psychological and material harm.

He stated, “While social media can have a positive role, its addictive design can also result in a loss of concentration, burnout, stress, depression and limited physical activity.

“This is particularly problematic for young people who spend hours scrolling on their phones. Today, we are calling for action to compel companies to change their ways by introducing new features to mitigate addiction.

“These features can include good design practices such as turning off notifications by default, implementing chronological feeds, enabling greyscale mode to reduce visual stimulus, and automatic locks after pre-set usage time. Self-discipline is not enough. Rules are needed to address this ever growing problem”, added the Midlands-North-West MEP.

“It’s not just an issue affecting young people. Gambling apps, for example, can be very problematic for individuals with addiction issues. Recent ESRI research found that of the three-quarters of adults spending money on gambling, one-third do so online. We need to delve further into this to ensure that people aren’t being exploited through addictive design features”, Markey concluded.


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