Apart from the implosion of our trust in social media, 2018 will go down as the year we discovered just how bad smartphones are for us. Even though they have become an integral part of our lives, there is a global pushback against their damaging effects — not surprisingly, from Silicon Valley itself. "It’s the height of irony," former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said at the Discovery leadership summit last month. "If you go to Silicon Valley, parents are doing everything they can to keep their own children off screen devices because they understand how addictive these devices are and how the content on the device becomes an alternative reality." She was talking about a New York Times article in October that highlighted this trend: "The people who are closest to a thing are often the most wary of it. Technologists know how phones really work, and many have decided they don’t want their own children anywhere near them." Two ex-Facebook executives have decried, respectively, ...

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