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Children can be seen handling mobile phones and smartphones all around the world. Older children can be seen talking to their friends for long hours, while others might spend their time playing countless games on the phone. The utility of the device cannot be debated. However, continued use and exposure to the phone can have harmful effects on the child.
Bad Effects Of Smartphone/Cell Phones On Children
It may be an easy way to distract children or keep them occupied, however, mobile come with their own set of vices. Some of the negative effects of regular use of mobile phones include,
For quite some time, there has been extensive research in the field of understanding cell phone radiation effects on children. Since they are still in a stage where their body is undergoing changes and growth, the effects of mobile radiation on them could be different from those on adults.
Children that have a tendency to use phones for extended periods of time, keeping them close to their ears, have shown a higher chance of developing non-malignant tumours, especially in the regions of the ear and the brain. The bones, tissues, and protective linings for organs such as the brain, are yet very thin in the kids. Hence, these organs end up absorbing beyond 60% radiation that is emitted from the mobile phones. The radiation can have strange effects in the human body, sometimes directly affecting the nervous system, too. This has been classified by the World Health Organization as a “possible carcinogen” and carries a potential risk of cancer.
2. Disturbed Brain Activity
Mobile phones primarily function on electromagnetic waves for all forms of communication, even internal. The brain has its own electric impulses within, which carry out communication in the neural network. In children, the waves from the phone can easily penetrate right into the interior parts of the brain, since they do not have a strong shield.
Research has shown that by merely talking on the phone for 2 minutes, the electrical activity inside a child’s brain can be changed. This erratic activity can cause problems in mood patterns, behavioural tendencies, and have trouble learning new things or focusing properly.
3. Academic Performance
Many children carry phones along with them to their schools. Chatting with friends, playing games, during school breaks or even in the class is increasing day by day. This results in children failing to pay attention in the class, missing out on important lessons, and consequently being clueless about studies and examinations.
4. Academic Malpractice
Smartphones not only distract children from studies but may also force them to resort to 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 behaviour not only affects academic performance but also results in a personality problem.
5. Inappropriate Media
Like any other gadget, the mobile phone is also a tool and can be used for the wrong purposes as well. 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 and get addicted to it at an early age, changing their perceptions about people. Exchanging images of their own irresponsibly can create a fiasco that can impact their lives for a long time.
Mobile Phone Safety Tips to Decrease the Risk
Taking the right measures to ensure mobile phone safety for kids is extremely important while they are growing up.
- Avoid giving cell phones to children under the age of 16. Young children are yet to develop the skull bone density and protective tissue for the brain, making them vulnerable to effects of the radiation.
- When your child talks on the phone, opt for a wired headset instead of holding the phone next to the ear.
- While travelling, avoid keeping the mobile with the child. The metal body of the vehicle blocks the radiations, which causes the phone to increase its power to catch them.
- In areas where the signal strength is weak, do not let your child use the phone. Mobiles, in such cases, amplify their own radiation to get a good signal strength, which can be harmful to the child.
- As an adult, it is important for parents and other people in the house to restrict their use of phones when they are around children. This is not only for purposes of avoiding radiation, but to create a behaviour pattern as well.
- It is advised to take extra care if there is a mobile phone tower on your building or nearby or even close to the child’s school since their exposure to radiation is more than usual.
- Completely restrict your child from taking phones to the school. Keep the school’s contact number and provide them yours in case of an emergency.
- Keep your mobile phones safely with you and out of sight of your kids at night. Children may quietly try to get a hold of it and use it without you finding out.
As with every technology or every tool out there, a mobile phone is a double-edged sword. The technological prowess of the smartphone is tremendous and it is quite a learning tool for children as well. However, keeping things in moderation and restricting usage hours goes a long way in ensuring their well-being as well as inculcating good behavioural habits within them.