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10 Harmful Effects of Using Mobile Phones on Children

Effects of Using Mobile Phones on Children

Mobile phones have become a necessity in the hyperconnected today’s world of the internet. Life without a mobile phone seems uneasy for many. It has become one of the essentials that each individual carries with them at all times. Most of us even keep our mobile phones by our side even when we are sleeping. Children have not been left behind in this smartphone revolution. We are seeing a phenomenon where even young children and toddlers are hooked on mobile phones from a very young age. Right from chatting with their friends on Whatsapp, sharing pictures on Instagram, posts on Facebook, or simply watching videos on YouTube or playing a myriad of games. Children are spending hours on their mobile phones every day. While there are significant benefits of smartphone technology, it has harmful effects as well.

This blog highlights 10 harmful effects of using mobile phones on children.

  1. Subject to harmful radiation
  2. Mobile phones are said to send and receive radiation which could be harmful to children’s brains and other bodily functions. There are studies which even point towards these radiations as a possible cause for tumours which could be harmful to children. Certain studies warn against keeping mobile phones nearby for a longer duration, especially close to our heads while sleeping. Although these claims are inconclusive, parents and children should be mindful of possible harm.

  3. Effect on eyesight (sleep deprivation)
  4. Long exposure to mobile phone screens has been proven to assert significant strain on our eyes resulting in serious eyesight problems. Children tend to spend long hours staring at screens while browsing the internet, binge-watching web series or playing video games. Such long exposure frequently leads to sleep deprivation which further escalates undesirable influences on the eyes.

  5. Numbs brain development
  6. A majority of the screen time on mobile phones is spent consuming entertainment which does not involve any brain activity. This deters brain development. Our brain cells tend to go into hibernation when we consume content on our mobile phones for longer durations. This might be even more alarming for children as they are in a critical stage of brain development. Like our bodies, our brain also needs regular exercise to develop optimally. Excessive usage of mobile phones can hamper optimal development of children’s brains.

  7. Sedentary lifestyle
  8. A large portion of children’s mobile phone consumption happens while lying down or being seated in an unworldly posture. This has two serious ramifications. One is the anatomical harm bad postures can cause to their fragile bodies. Two, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a variety of problems such as obesity, lethargy, depression, etc. These are serious ramifications of excessive usage of mobile phones by children. Children have soft bones which assume the shape we keep them in for longer periods. Distorted and ergonomic postures can have serious ramifications for their future. Longer screen times also leave them susceptible to lifestyle issues such as obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, etc.

    Also Read: Digital literacy for children — 10 things to know

  9. Academic
  10. Time is finite. The more time children spend on their addictive mobile phones, the less time they have to dedicate to their studies. This can have obvious ramifications on their academic progress and performance. Social media and the internet have their obvious charm, especially when compared to the seemingly tedious world of books. The distraction is easy to catch on. It is important for children to not let their academics suffer as a result of excessive usage of mobile phones.

  11. Reduced social interactions
  12. Mobile phones and the internet-based social network creates a virtual world of its own. Overinvolvement in the virtual world leads to reduced social interactions. Most of the interaction shifts to chat windows and social media engagement. This inhibits the development of interpersonal skills among children. Lack of physical social interactions can lead to significant developmental deficiencies among children, such as introverted ness, poor communication skills, poor networking skills, and lack of interpersonal and social skills.

  13. Digital Fatigue
  14. Excessive usage of digital media also leads to digital fatigue in the long term which has the potential to develop an aversion towards any form of digital media. This could be a significant disadvantage for children in the future as the usage of digital technologies is an integral part of the professional world and even more so in the future. An early onset of digital fatigue can put them at a disadvantage later on in their professional careers.

  15. Diminishing command of language
  16. The world of the internet and social media has developed its unique languages. Words such as BRB, TTYL, BAE, etc may not have any meaning in any reputable dictionary, however, they mean something in the digital world. Children today while conversing on social media resort to such language regularly. In addition to this, there is always the autocorrect feature which makes them unmindful of the correctness of grammar or spelling. While these are extremely convenient features, they do hamper children’s development of language skills. Language skills are a key ingredient for long-term success, and excessive mobile phone usage can do great harm in this key developmental domain for children.

  17. Threats of cyber crimes
  18. Children using mobile phones are also susceptible to a variety of cybercrimes such as digital identity fraud, cyberbullying, phishing, malware, etc. These cybercrimes can have a deep mental, physical and economic impact on the delicate minds of children.

    Also Read: Internet Safety for Kids

  19. Subject to inappropriate content
  20. The internet world is largely unregulated. While economies are globally coming up with regulations, content on the internet is still largely unregulated. This leads children susceptible to accessing content which may be inappropriate for them. Content containing excessive violence, fake news, pornography and other inappropriate visuals or messaging can have a deep and long-lasting impact on the delicate psyche of children. These impressions can leave indelible scars on their thinking and mindset. The inappropriateness of content can also manifest itself in the form of inaccuracy of information, misleading information, and fake information, which can be equally damaging for children. Relying on the internet excessively for information can have undesirable effects if the credibility of sources is not ascertained.

Also Read: Should Students Get Limited Access to the Internet?

Children and parents are thus advised to balance their usage of mobile phones keeping the above possible harmful effects under consideration.

EuroSchool is committed to raising awareness on the harmful effects of using mobile phones on children. We empower students to make informed choices and develop a balanced approach through organising workshops, parental support and offering counselling support to students.

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