How to reach 150 Members of Parliament (and millions of fellow Dutch)
To increase awareness on the topic of tech addiction in Holland, together with the Dutch startup Myndr, we decided to do some research on our Parliament. For 6 weeks and 21 (assembly) meetings, we tallied up all their “distracted smartphone moments”. Every 10 minutes, a student would count all MP’s present and whether or not they were checking their smartphone:
We’ve seen MPs play casual games– and use a whole lot of social media. Crunching the numbers, we found 38% of members of Parliament on average were checking their phones at any time– and a whopping 56% of MP’s at the most distracted of times.
So we launched a campaign site, wrote some thought pieces (second, third piece) and got in touch with members of Parliament directly, who were able to use our research (and head line grabbing news story) to put this addiction back on the agenda and influence the way government operates.
In the mean time, our story hit the airwaves. Over fifty national media titles (including RTL Nieuws, EditieNL, Radio1, Buitenhof, Jinek, NOS Jeugdjournaal, AD and Telegraaf) ran our story and various follow ups. MP’s were invited to explain their distracted behaviour live on camera.
Though the wheels of change turn slowly – not just when it comes to digital hygiene and digital rights – we are highly confident that our initiative will lead to lasting changes not just in awareness, but also in everyday behaviour for our MPs.
In the mean time, we’ve made sure about 4.3 million people were once more aware of the problems of smartphone addiction and how that’s a pervasive, societal problem that requires more of our collective attention.
Huge thanks to Myndr, the innovative startup with big ideas and a heart full of idealism, for having the courage to take a stand and put a lot of effort into addressing this societal issue. And thanks to the students of De Bildung Academie for participating and tallying the MPs so diligently.