We live in an era of digital technology and it is a blessing but as in any other case, a coin has two sides. Technology makes our life easier but also quite dependent. It influence the way we behave and alter our thinking power. The perfect example of this technology dependence is a smartphone with unlimited internet access . Nowadays it is a trend to engage our children with the mobile phone to easily get rid of their demands.
Today each and every parent is concerned about the impact of mobile phones on their kids and this is hot topic of discussion among the parents .we can see children using these devices all around. Some kids can be seen talking to their friends for long hours, some can be seen playing games and watching videos.
In Today’s era, screen time has become a dilemma for parents because children are digital babies , we can’t take them off technology. We can’t say that we will not give you gadgets because then they will be handicapped into a world which is fully digital but also comes with it the challenge that they can’t be there with technology or with the screen time for more than some optimum time.
Children use cell phones to watch videos , play games make phone calls and send text messages. Most of teens have their own cell phones which they are attached to 24/7 .
No doubt that the mobile phones are quite beneficial in some ways but we cannot deny the fact that it leads to a massive loss in their concentration and time spent on studies.
There was a recent large scale review that looked at children aged between 6-19 in Australia, Europe, North America and Asia and they found that 72% of children have smartphone and 89% of adolescent have smartphones and most of these individuals actually use their phone during bed time and the problem with this is that it affects sleep duration and it also affects quality of their sleep.
Essentially when you use smartphones before bed your brain is receiving constant stream of light from the phone and this basically tells your brain to stay awake because the light from the phone actually suppresses the hormone “Melatonin” which is normally involved in getting your body ready for sleep.The high energy from shortwave length light Which is present in phone screen and alternatively called blue light disrupts this by preventing your body from getting to the required state of sleep and this tells us when using your mobile phone during bed time hours and that continue suppression of Melatonin ,it results in lack of ability to actually fall asleep and it reduces the quality of sleep. Normally Darkness would lead to release of Melatonin but the light from your screen stops that.
Several studies have proven that excessive use of mobile phones by children may cause non malignant tumours especially in the regions of ear and brain. The radiations can have dangerous effects on the the human body especially on kids , directly effecting the nervous system this has been classified by the WHO as a “possible carcinogen “and carries a potential risk of cancer.
Due to the addictive content of the mobile phones , it is very likely that the children may get glued to the phone throughout the day without much interaction with friends and family. This will in turn make the kids dangerously introvert and anti social. After all humanity, compassion, caring, righteousness all such qualities come by interacting with more people and living in their shoes.
It doesn’t require a deep study to understand that the kids these days are so indulged in phones that they pay no attention to studies , This consequently results in being clueless about studies and examinations.
By using cell phones excessively a children’s brain may get disturbed by the radiation . This interruptive activity can cause changes in mood patterns and behavioural tendencies . Children may find trouble in learning new things or focusing properly.
Kids could come across inappropriate messages, images or texts despite parental surveillance , even exchanging images of their own irresponsibly can create a disaster that would impact their lives in the long term .
With children glued to the mobile phones during their free time, they don’t involve in physical activities and get fresh air , This puts them at risk of obesity and other illnesses which can later develop into harmful diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
How to reduce child’s smartphone addiction
Be strict: Strictness is not all about abruptly taking away your mobile phones from the child, it means the rule for everyone. Unlimited internet never means that you are free to behave irresponsibly . children have the tendency to quickly learn from the surroundings so you also have to reduce the use of mobile phones in their presence and behave responsibly .
Avoid tantrums : Tantrums are the best weapon for use by the children to blackmail their parents. When you easily react on their stubbornness against using your smartphone then they immediately understand your weakness very well . whenever you stop them they start performing tantrums . so don’t react on their tenacity , let them handle themselves .when they get tired of crying and screaming then slowly they will understand that their talk is not going to be made anymore.
Understand your child’s interest: understand your child’s interest expect mobile and internet whether it is indoor or outdoor activity provide them with props to engage their mind into productive state. If your child is interested in drawing then provide them with necessary colours , colour books to divert their mind from mobile . it has one more benefit that your child will be more creative and thinks about new ideas and in a right direction during their upcoming years.
Switch to television: The very first benefit of using television instead of mobile phones is your command. You can easily control what is healthy to view for them but you have no control over the mobile internet and they watch whatever they want . You can also easily fix their schedule and responsibility . Remember that both are the ways of entertainment for them you provide them unnecessary mobile and the internet to be addicted to help them develop new habit at a schedule time.
Appreciate their positive changes: Within some time you will start to notice changes in their behaviour and actions . so never forget to appreciate them with rewards. For example if you feel changes that your child is spending more time in colouring instead of mobile phone then appreciate and reward them with few extra minutes of watching cartoons or an ice cream treat . it is the best way to make them excited and encourage your child to involve in other interesting activities.
(The author is a student of political science in Aligarh Muslim university and can be reached at [email protected]).