There is no doubting the benefits of the Smartphones. Ease of communication, the anywhere, anytime contact – with friends, family and in theory at least the efficiency brought to busy lives. But every technological advance that provides such dramatic benefits has consequential costs too.
Almost 9 out of 10 children in the India now have a smartphone. While they can be beneficial in helping children stay in touch with worried parents, the health argument isn’t so clear-cut. Smartphones are psychologically addictive. Unless we get control of the screens which now absorb so much of our kids’ time, it will have harmful effects on your kids.
A father of one 16 years told us ‘We give Richa, our daughter, INR 2500 pocket money with extra for her school lunches. We learnt recently that all this money is being spent on her mobile recharge. She hasn’t had a meal in school for the past 3 months and worst of all considers no other activity or hobby worthy of her pocket money. My child will no longer communicate with the family, her phone has to be beside her day and night, we often hear her talking in the early hours of the morning, her homework is suffering, her hobbies no longer take priority, she is not the daughter we once had”.
Some children are so obsessed that they are unable to stay without the smartphone. They constantly check for messages and become irritable if they have to be away from their phone for any period of time.
When the mobile phone becomes not just an essential item for communication but instead something that takes control of a child’s life, parents have a right to be worried. Many parents are concerned about the harmful effects of smartphones on children.
Bad Effects Of SmartPhones On Children:
1. Health Hazard: Today’s children are growing up in a radio-frequency environment that never existed in human history before. The radiation emitted by smart phones can have adverse effects on children. Children absorb more than 60 percent of the radiation into the brain than adults. Their brain’s thinner skin, tissues, and bones allow them to absorb the radiation twice than the grown-ups. Their developing nervous system makes them more vulnerable to this ‘carcinogen. A 2008 study by Dr Gaby Badre found children who used their cell phones extensively experienced more sleep disruption, restlessness and fatigue than children who limited their cell phone usage. Too much screen time can result in digital eyestrain, which can include burning, itchy, or tired eyes
2. Effect on Academics and Hobbies
Children, just like the teens, are addicted to mobile phones. They play games, chat and talk to their friends on their mobile phone all the time. The effect of the smartphone on children’s academic can be very noticeable. Children reduce the time spent on homework. Exam results get suffer due to poor preparation or fatigue from using their smartphones well into the night. Even hobbies which were once loved might no longer be considered worth pursuing.
3. Inappropriate Usage of Internet:
Use of cell phones can lead children to engage in inappropriate behaviors. They can easily check sites that show harmful and shocking content.This can result in leaving the child scared and confused. Exposure to this material at a young age can also result in body image issues. Texting and sending inappropriate pictures has also become common among teens. The images go in the wrong hands, giving others access to the private photos. Children can also access pornographic sites from their multimedia devices. Parents can use a parental control like Nischint to monitor, manage and protect child’s digital usage.
4. Aggressive Behaviour and Effects Of Smartphones on Family
As mobile phones are keeping the brain continuously busy without any rest, kids tend to be more annoying. They tend to become more violent and irritated even at the normal discussions. This, in turn, hampers their social life. The worst case is that children stop communicating with the family all together. Children can feel the need to constantly check for messages. They become irritable when they stay away from their smartphone for any period of time.
What can parents do to decrease the risk?
Mobile phones can provide children a sense of safety, support and control over their lives. To be able to contact parents, friends or other family members at any time gives peace of mind for both child and their parents. Mobile phones allow parents and children to manage instances of missed school buses, forgotten sports bags etc with ease. With 79 per cent of children aged 7 to 11 years having a mobile phone and the proportion with smartphones such as an iPhone, or Android phones growing fast (46 percent of children now own a smartphone), it pays to be cautious.
The best advice is to limit how long children spend on the phone. If your kids insist on having a mobile, or you feel they need one, encourage them to:
- Always use the speakerphone or keep the phone away from your head when you speak. A child’s brain is too sensitive to withstand the effects of smartphone radiation.
- Do not let children carry the mobile phones to school.
- Do not leave mobile phones in your children’s bedroom at night.
- Manage screentime for your children and prevent them from smartphone addiction.
Nischint is a parental control solution whose prime focus is to create a safe digital environment for children today. We help children learn how to use their devices responsibly and also provide parents with the ability to monitor their child’s lives online. With Nischint parents can schedule app and device usage, so that children can focus while they are at school/studying/playing and they get to experience the best of both worlds.