According to a recent report on effects of smartphones on child development, 25% of kids under the age of six have phones and half of them spend up to 21 hours a week on them.
The folk wisdom is very true, above wealth is good health. But as it is now, a lot of us undermine our mental and physical state day by day by using cellphones excessively.
Most of the parents provide their kids with cellphones by themselves. That might be so they can easily contact with each other whenever needed or to keep them busy.
What parent wouldn’t want peace and quiet of their children sitting and enjoying something without a chaos. Even though this gives sufficient ground to provide your kids with cellphones, but this can have adverse effects as well, both on the physical and mental health of the new generation.
Lets wight the positive and negative effects of smartphone on child development.
Benefits of Smartphone for Kids:
1. Helpful in Emergency situations
Cellphones have eased the ability to communicate in emergency situations. Many parents who’s kids did not carry cellphones, faced problems while staying in touch with their children or communicating in urgent situations. Where they had to travel all the way to deliver a message, now children are just a call or text away.
2. Keeping a track
In earlier years, parents often had difficulties keeping a track of their children for which they spent hours worrying about their well-being.
However now it has become easier to know what your kids are up to by either having frequent contacts with them or their friend, having checks over their social media accounts, or having GPS enabled to know where they actually are.
3. Opportunities of social contact
For a child’s development, confidence is extremely important. Cellphones provide you with exposure to interact with people and learn basic communication skills.
Let it be on calls or on text messaging, a lot of friendships prevail due to cellphones. You’ll find way lesser loners now than few years back. Why? Because cellphones have changed the world into a global village.
4. Ability to gain immediate knowledge
Let it be for personal or academic use, cellphones have become the most common mode of seeking knowledge. Where books can be limited, cellphones provide access to an entire never ending library of information for kids to enlighten themselves.
A lot of kids usually Google the topics they are interested in or either watch informative videos on YouTube.
5. Best for Entertainment
Let’s be honest, cellphones are most famous to keep your kids busy and quiet. A child would spend hours on a cellphone playing games or watching videos instead of causing chaos or boring themselves out.
Should smartphones be given to children?
Mobile Phones come along with Health Hazards:
1. Phantom Pocket Vibration Syndrome (PPVS)
Time to time, many of us get a feeling that our cellphone is vibrating when it’s actually not. We check it immediately only to realize that it was a false alarm.
This phenomenon is called PPVS. Dr. Michelle Drouin found in a study that 89% of teenagers had experienced this sensation especially the undergraduates with a social media addiction.
They are more anxious and nervous about missing a text message. Turning a cell phone’s vibration option off is a good way to combat this syndrome.
2. Blurred Vision
While texting or reading something on the Internet, we have to stare at comparatively small and bright cellphone screens. This can put a lot of strain on our eyes which can dry out and hurt when blinking.
Eventually, this might result in Myopia or visual deterioration as well as convergence insufficiency, where the ability of the eyes to turn inwards towards each other or to focus well on near objects is impaired.
This causes symptoms like eye fatigue, lazy eyes and even double vision. To maintain a clear sight, it’s advised to keep your device at least 16 inches away from your face.
3. Risk of Brain Cancer
There are grounds to believe that cellphones indeed cause cancer. This is because of the radio frequency of electromagnetic fields given off by mobile devices.
Some people are used to set alarms and keep cellphones not far from the head. Cellphones transmit microwave radiations which also has an adverse effect on our brain and can trigger brain cancer development in the future.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer conducted a survey which revealed that excessive use of mobile phones may lead to the formation of brain tumors like glioma and acoustic neuroma.
4. Sleeping Disorders
You cannot ignore their influence on sleep when talking about cell phones and health. Almost every other teen nowadays is found busy on their phones late at nights, texting or using social medias. Having a mobile device at hand makes one end up with insomnia.
You naturally feel tempted to check it at night and once you begin, it’s hard to stop. Many aren’t able to sleep properly because of its vibrating and beeping.
Sleep deprivation leads to serious mental health problems along with making you feel exhausted, drained and inefficient to carry out basic activities.
5. Neck and Back Pain
A healthy spine is one of the key factors of one’s well-being. By slouching over a phone screen for a couple of hours per day, we ruin our back and neck muscles. No wonder several younger people complain of nagging pain in these parts of their bodies.
To make things worse, aching neck muscles can cause a headache too. So eventually, we end up feeling like a wreck.
To stay healthy, watching your posture every time you use a cell phone is extremely important. Yes this may seem annoying but eventually it becomes a habit.
6. Aggressive and Extremist behavior
Children who spend hours playing fight and race games become aggressive and inpatient and might practice these behaviors in real life as well.
Apart from this, children might get involved in activities on the phones that leave them depressed and anxious instead like breakups at a young age or feeling insecure about yourself because of the beauty standards around the world.
Like everything else, there are many adverse effects of smartphone on child development especially the younger generations. However it’s upon us that how much liberty do we give our kids and ourselves to exploit something that was made for making life easier instead.