Children all over the world use smartphones for various purposes. Some children are seen talking to their friends for long hours, while others spend their time playing countless games on the phone.
The internet is an abode of knowledge for children. Though the utility of smartphones cannot be debated, continued use and exposure can have harmful effects on the child.
Young people rely on their cells for communication with parents and friends, entertainment with games and music downloads, the list goes on and on. And like most adults, children take their cell phones with them everywhere they go, even into their classrooms at school.
This situation has brought about considerable debate between school administrations and parents and students as to how cell phone use in schools should be handled.
Here are 7 disadvantages to allowing kids to have cell phones:
1. Inappropriate Media
Like any other gadget, the mobile phone is also a tool and can be used for wrong purposes. Kids could come across inappropriate messages, images, or texts shared by their friends or in the group, and further pass it on to others. They can find their way to pornography at an early age, changing their perceptions and thought process. Even exchanging images of their own, irresponsibly, can create a fiasco that impacts their lives for a long time.
2. Academic Malpractice
Smartphones not only distract children from studies but may also be their tool of malpractices to score well in exams. Using the inbuilt calculator in exams where it isn’t allowed, storing photographs or reference information to cheat in the examination, or even exchanging answers with other students over chat during the exam, have been widely observed in various schools. Such behavior not only affects academic performance but also results in a personality issue.
3. Affects Brain Activity
Studies suggest that the human brain is sensitive to electromagnetic radiation; however, there is a need for more studies to prove the radiation could disturb brain activity. Since, mobile phones primarily function on electromagnetic waves for all forms of communication, even internal, and the brain has its own electric impulses wherein communication is carried out in the neural network, it could possibly affect the brain. However, as mentioned earlier, more research needs to be done to prove that radiation affects brain activity.
For now, what could possibly affect the brain are the content the child is exposed to and the screen time. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to control or limit screen time and ensure children have access to only certain programs, games, etc. that are suitable for their age. Limited cell phone time won’t affect the child’s learning or focus on other important things/activities, too, such as studies, hobbies, sports, etc.
4. Mental Health
Children on social media may come in contact with cyber bullies who harass and bully them over the internet. Many children who have been cyber-bullied may only admit their experience much later in life when the mental damage has already been done. Social media may also induce depression and anxiety when the kids are not given the online attention they expect.
Mobile phones can be a major distraction for children. This can affect a child’s education, making it harder for them to focus on homework and school projects, as well as undermine their ability to concentrate generally. Phones can also upset family social events.
6. Peer Pressure
Mobile phones are status symbols. As children enter puberty and head towards their teenage years, they come under social pressure to demand phones that are more expensive and fashionable, increasing emotional and financial strain on parents and guardians.
7. Sleep Deprivation
Children have a tendency to use their phones to text, chat, email and surf deep into the night. This can significantly reduce or disrupt their sleep patterns. Over time, their mental and physical health and development can be compromised.