Children & Technology: A Psychologist's Experiment with Stunning Results

Three had suicidal thoughts. Five experienced acute "panic attacks." In 27, direct vegetative symptoms were observed — nausea, sweating, dizziness, hot flashes, abdominal pain, a feeling of “moving” hair on the head, etc. Almost everyone has experienced feelings of fear and anxiety. Of the 68 participants, only 3 completed the experiment - one girl and two boys...

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Children from 12 to 18 years old were asked to voluntarily spend eight hours alone with themselves, excluding the opportunity to use means of communication (mobile phones, the Internet). At the same time, they were forbidden to turn on the computer, any gadgets, radio, or TV. But a whole range of classical activities alone were allowed: writing, reading, playing musical instruments, drawing, handicrafts, singing, walking, etc.

The author of the experiment wanted to prove her working hypothesis that modern children have too much fun, are unable to occupy themselves and are completely unfamiliar with their inner world. According to the rules of the experiment, the children had to come strictly the next day and tell how the loneliness test went. They were allowed to describe their state during the experiment, write down their actions and thoughts. In case of excessive anxiety, discomfort or tension, the psychologist recommended immediately stopping the experiment and recording the time and reason for its termination.

At first glance, the idea of ​​the experiment seems very harmless. So the psychologist mistakenly believed that it would be completely safe. No one expected such shocking results from the experiment. Of the 68 participants, only THREE completed the experiment - one girl and two boys.

Three had suicidal thoughts. Five experienced acute "panic attacks." In 27, direct vegetative symptoms were observed - nausea, sweating, dizziness, hot flashes, abdominal pain, a feeling of “moving” hair on the head, etc. Almost everyone has experienced feelings of fear and anxiety.

The novelty of the situation, the interest and joy of meeting oneself disappeared for almost everyone by the beginning of the second or third hour. Only ten people who interrupted the experiment felt restless after three (or more) hours of solitude.

The heroic girl who completed the experiment brought me a diary in which she described her condition in detail for eight hours. At this point the hairs on the psychologist’s head began to stand on end. For ethical reasons, she did not publish these recordings.

What did the teenagers do during the experiment?

  • cooked food, ate;
  • read or tried to read,
  • did some school assignments (it was during the holidays, but out of desperation many grabbed their textbooks);
  • looked out the window or wandered around the apartment;
  • went outside and went to a store or cafe (communication was prohibited by the conditions of the experiment, but they decided that salespeople or cashiers did not count);
  • put together puzzles or Lego sets;
  • drew or tried to draw;
  • washed;
  • cleaned the room or apartment;
  • played with a dog or cat;
  • worked out on exercise machines or did gymnastics;
  • wrote down their feelings or thoughts, wrote a letter on paper;
  • played guitar, piano (one played flute);
  • three wrote poetry or prose;
  • one boy traveled around the city on buses and trolleybuses for almost five hours;
  • one girl was embroidering on canvas;
  • one boy went to an amusement park and in three hours he rode until he began to vomit;
  • one young man walked St. Petersburg from end to end, about 25 km;
  • one girl went to the Museum of Political History and another boy went to the zoo;
  • one girl prayed...

Almost everyone at some point tried to fall asleep, but no one succeeded. “Stupid” thoughts obsessively swirled in their heads.

After stopping the experiment, 14 teenagers went on social networks, 20 called friends on their mobile phones, three called their parents, and five went to a friend’s house or yard. The rest turned on the TV or immersed themselves in computer games. In addition, almost everyone turned on music or put headphones in their ears almost immediately.

All fears and symptoms disappeared immediately after the experiment was stopped.

63 teenagers retrospectively found the experiment useful and interesting for self-knowledge. Six repeated it on their own and claim that they succeeded the second, third, or fifth time.

When analyzing what happened to them during the experiment, 51 people used the phrases “addiction”, “it turns out I can’t live without...”, “dose”, “withdrawal”, “withdrawal syndrome”, “I always need...”, “get off from a needle,” etc. Everyone, without exception, said that they were terribly surprised by the thoughts that came to their minds during the experiment, but were unable to “examine” them carefully due to the deterioration of their general condition.

One of the two boys who successfully completed the experiment spent the entire eight hours glueing together a model of a sailing ship, with breaks for food and a walk with a dog. Another first sorted and systematized his collections, and then replanted the flowers. Neither one nor the other experienced any negative emotions during the experiment and did not note the occurrence of “strange” thoughts.

Having received such results, the family psychologist was afraid. A hypothesis is a hypothesis, but when it is confirmed like this... But we must also take into account that not everyone took part in the experiment, but only those who were interested and agreed.

From Ekaterina Murashova’s book “To Love or Educate”

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