Years before parents faced a similar issue with television and children. When children used to be glued to their television screens and wouldn’t do their homework or go out to play. Now it’s mobile phones and children.
With rapid technological advancements our lives have become easier with almost everything possible with just one touch or click of the button. We can now stay connected with people across the globe with a device that fits in our pocket i.e. cell phones.
Mobile Phones And Children – 12 Reasons They Should Not Be Friends
Though most of us adults have become latched on the phones because of work and the need to be connected with people at all times, unfortunately, the youngest members of our society, our children are also affected by it.
Here are 12 reasons why children shouldn’t be given mobile phones
1. Children/unborn babies at greater health risks than adults from mobile phones
In a study conducted by L. Lloyd Morgan, a senior science fellow at Environment Health Trust, and colleagues it was found that children and unborn babies are at a greater risk of bodily damage with exposure to microwave radiation given off by wireless devices including cellphones .
Studies suggested that as the babies brain tissues were more absorbent, with their skulls being thinner and relatively being smaller in size thereby in some cases absorbing twice as much radiation than an average adult. It was also found that a baby’s bone marrow can absorb ten times the radiation then an average adult.
Cell phones companies even specify the minimum distance their devices should be kept away from the body so that the minimum legal limit for the exposure to MWR isn’t exceeded. For tablets and laptops the minimum distance is 20 cms.
2. Eye damage due to excessive mobile usage
As mobile phones have smaller screens one really needs to stare at it every time you read, play games or watch videos. We do even forget to keep the device at a safe distance from our eyes to avoid any damage.
This can put a lot of strain on your kid’s eyes and may even eventually lead to vision deterioration over a period of time.
3. Disruption in sleep cycles
Cellphones may prevent your child getting a proper night’s sleep. They may get tempted to check it at night. They might get disturbed with frequent beeps and vibrations as notifications line in. Thus causing sleep deprivation and serious mental health problems.
Children like us adults develop a habit of setting the alarm and keeping the phone right next to our pillow or sometimes even under it. This is a completely bad idea cause of the radiations transmitted by the cellphone which are harmful to the child’s brains.
4. Children can get addicted to mobile phones
New studies show that cell phones can lead to addiction and may even alter the structure of the brain. In case of absence of parental attachment kids have been found to get more attached to their devices. Thus, clubbing mobile phones and children to be a cause for about 39% to 43% of addiction to cell phones in India.
Studies suggest that one out of eleven children that have been using such devices between the ages of 8 to 18 suffer from addiction to their cell phones. Fortunately cognitive behavioral therapy has helped in bringing this down.
5. Mobile phones and children – a cause of obesity
Getting more and more engaged in the phones children tend to stay more indoors. This restricts their physical activities all together. Slowly they may tend to get obese thereby putting themselves to greater health risks.
A study conducted at Harvard states that 43% of the children that spend about five hours in front of their smartphones were more likely to get obese.
6. Increased risk of mental illnesses
It is believed that smartphones and such gadgets have increased cases of child anxiety, attachment disorder, autism, psychosis and bipolar disorder.
7. Mobile phones and children are a disaster for academics
Children that carry mobile phones to their schools have been found playing games or sending messages during class hours. This causes indiscipline in the classrooms and is affecting their attention span on the subject being taught.
Eventually they fail to concentrate on the things being taught in the class as they are more interested in using the mobile phones.
8. May lead to undesirable lifestyle changes
Children have started associating modern, expensive and stylish new phones as their status symbols. Social media apps have got the children so hooked, that they have started associating a like on Facebook or Instagram as a paradigm of being socially accepted. It may lead to depression also.
This has lead for them to spend more and more time in checking their social media accounts rather than doing other important activities such as playing outside or engage in creative activities and hobbies.
9. Misuse of mobile phones
Parents should be really careful with mobile phones and children. Children may end up sending and receiving vulgar messages and pictures. They may even find access to adult websites. Parents need to be really vigilant that children may not get into these things intentionally, that to at a young age.
They may even get exposed to such content accidentally while browsing some websites and clicking on links leading to adult content.
10. Brain development
Our brains grow to thrice the size and develop the most from age 0 to 21. For the brain to develop in a healthy manner numerous factors and stimuli play an important role. We need to keep our survival instincts sharp and that only happens when we get exposed to different situations.
Scientists have found that excessive use and dependence on technology can make us impulsive, lack of attention, cognitive delays, learning impairment and reduction in ability of self-regulation. It makes children lazy then usual and codependent on the device for most of the problems faced in daily life. The child won’t be able to learn practical life lessons and skills required for survival.
11. Mobile phones and children linked to aggressive behavior
Children can get easily exposed to violent media through the mobile phones. This may lead to developing aggressive behavior among the child. Getting exposed to visuals that exhibit violence which may be sexual and physical as shown in video games, movies and Tv shows can impact the fragile mind of a child easily.
Such content displaying torture, rape, sex, mutilation and murder should be completely off limits for children.
12. Responsible use of mobile phones: An advice to the parents
While mobile phones pose certain threats to us, it has also helped us a lot. It has not only helped us to connect on a global level, it has also helped in keeping businesses running including our education system during these tough times of Covid-19. Responsible usage of mobile phones may be the key to our problems after all.
It’s not that only children are at a risk. Sometimes parents spend a lot of time busy with their smart phones paying less attention to their kids. This pushes the children to misbehave or throw tantrums to get attention of their parents. It’s like as if mobile phones and children start competing for the parent’s attention.
Some parents do use mobile phones to keep their children entertained and busy so that they don’t misbehave. But do they realize how cell phones affect a child’s brain? This practice has made children prone to play on the mobile phones rather than to go out, explore and play with friends.
So what is best age for your child to get a mobile phone? Well after considering all the new studies and experiments run by scientists, and new policies being formulated by government around the globe to keep a check on this problem. It is believed that children should be given mobile phones after the age of 16 at least. By this age their brains have developed enough and they have better understanding of the world.
Even people such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban and Alexis Ohanian, who have been involved in the evolution of technology as we see it, didn’t let their children use such devices till they were old enough or till they would be. These people understand the boon and bane these devices bring.