The teachers, too, were addicted to screens.
From what I saw, all the teachers in the monasteries were as addicted to screens as the younger generations. In the evenings, sometimes I met with the head of the monastery, and I would see him with two iPhones, one iPad, and a computer, using all four screens at the same time. From what I observed, everybody has some kind of addiction.
The use of screens changed him.
But the reality of becoming a teenager in combination with the use of screens [changed him]. [In Bhutan,] they went from nothing, no screens, to, in a few months, watching 15 hours of American wrestling and porn a day. They don’t have the slightest notion of the potential negative effects of going from nothing to becoming the biggest users of screens in all of Asia. In Europe, we had TV first, and then the internet, and then mobile phones. Bhutan, they got everything all at the same time.
The innocence was lost.
I have to say that when I came back to shoot Sing Me a Song, the first thing I observed was this scene of the young monks in the monastery, praying and playing [on their phones] at the same time. And I felt most of them had their brains turned off. The innocence that was there earlier, when shooting Happiness, that was lost.
I, too, am addicted.
Also, I think I’m the worst person when speaking about being addicted to these kinds of tools. I’ve ended up in my career with two or three mobile phones in my pocket, one for private, one for work, one for when I am abroad. So, this isn’t something I look at from a distance. Even with my family, not a day goes by where I’m not experiencing some conflict with one of my kids on this issue. It’s a daily endless battle. And how do you deal with it when homework is being done on the internet? Like my kids, everyone on Earth is spending 13 hours a day on screens. And I don’t have the slightest clue on how to solve it. There is not a single country that has the right solution.