Combating Mobile Phone Addiction in Children
With the average number of technological gadgets in each house being higher than six, children never have to go beyond their house to be addicted to a substance. And in a world, that’s changing drastically every day, this substance has become more and more easily available and everyone is embracing it without thinking about the repercussions. Needless to say, this substance is a Mobile Phone.
After years of Independence, humans have to make sure that they do not fall into their own traps and become prisoners to this cage of Mobile phones.
What does Phone Addiction do to your Brain?
From games that required physical efforts, the favorite games of children have changed to ones on their smartphones, iPads, laptops, etc. When parents don’t try to stop this, what they’re really doing is not realizing that Phone addiction can actually turn out to be stronger than addiction to cocaine. When one uses too much of their cell phones, the brain senses this activity as something pleasurable as a result of which the receptors craves more of it, thus making us addicts in the truest sense. Moreover, the release of melatonin is reduced with increased usage, which worsens a person’s health and causes certain problems that are similar to cocaine or drugs addiction. It can also cause loss of sleep, that is, insomnia.
Using cell phones excessively releases Dopamine, a brain chemical that makes us happy every time we receive a text or check our phones. And this chemical can be very addicting and is the one that is also released when you take drugs or consume alcohol or do anything that can get you addicted.
If a child is exposed to cell phones at a very early age they can actually hamper with their goal setting and can divert their focus from things that are more important.
There have been scary statistics where mobile phone addiction has been related to mental illnesses. For example, a child who spends a lot of time on the phone is more prone to having depression, anxiety, and other such issues. The more a young person uses their phone, the lesser their social skills enhance over time. Since they only know to text, they forget the important and the manner a face-to-face conversation should be conducted and may end up becoming an introvert or socially awkward. Moreover, this also opens doors for cyberbullying that can potentially ruin lives of several.
How to Fight Phone Addiction
To curb something, it is first necessary to know why it happens. There are many reasons for it. Often, it is thought of to be cool to be available all the time and to have one’s phone handy. To always text back, to be updated about everything and everyone in the world, to have an account of every social networking website has become a factor for being accepted by peer groups. Everyone wants to be a friend to everyone but this makes them end up with no friends at all because they all are prioritizing quantity over quality.
Children have started considering cell phones as their only source of leisure and relaxation and thus become completely independent of them and keep it close to them 24/7.
It has become to need of the hour to fight Mobile Phone addiction among children because if that is not done, there will be many unproductive activities that will hinder the performance of children not only in school and academics but also in life in general. Therefore, they should be well aware of the negative impact that this might have on them.
For this, one should make sure that all their audio notifications are off. This would eradicate chances of there being constant ‘Ping-ing’ of the phone and thus, reduce the distractions one would have. It works similar to the way Pavlov’s dogs worked. Every time the phone rings, kids are pulled right back towards it.
Engage in Bonding activities and discussions
By engaging in discussions with the children this limits the need to hold or look at the phone during the discussion. This also gives you the opportunity to know things that are ongoing in the child’s life while also providing a form of guidance.
By carrying out activities that bond your relationship trust increases, this lets you know about peer pressure, bullying and even predatory approaches from adults. These activities could be things like jigsaw puzzles, building treehouses, fixing RC plans, hosting imaginary tea parties, etc.
Get the children engaged in sports and outdoor activities.
The competitiveness of sports tend to make the child explore ways of getting better at it, this gives the child a fulfilling feeling and this can replace that feeling which was gotten from the use of the mobile phone. However, you have to help the child pick a sport he/she would like and excel in. picking the wrong sport can lead to depression, withdrawal and further addiction to the mobile phone and other substances.
Also, make sure you are very supportive by practicing together and attending games. Your support makes a huge difference in the child’s passion for sports.
Having children being looked up indoors all day can have an adverse effect on the brain and psychological health. Encourage the kids to play outside for a while, this gives them vitamin D from the sun and also a mood boost. However, precautions should be taken such as sunscreens, insect repellants and adult supervision to prevent accidents and criminals.
One More Escape
Another way of combating the addiction would be to make sure that the phone is always in a room other than the one that the child is in. That would increase the proximity and act as a physical barrier because one wouldn’t go to the other room every five minutes leaving behind something they’re working on.
Children should set a particular time when they would use cell phones, say, for 10 minutes every 2 hours and reply to messages if that’s required. Other than that, they can study or do something that’s their hobby, or in fact, anything that is productive. Every now and then, children, along with their parents should do something similar to ‘No gadgets day’ because after all, children are influenced by their parents to a huge extent.
Thus, it is essential to make changes in lifestyles of children because they are the future and if they lose their focus from the path they are on and indulge in something that can be nothing but an obstacle in their life, it would hinder growth and development for a country or even, the world. Excess of everything is bad and it is important to set a limit of usage. As an adult or a parent, it is also their duty to make sure they restrict their use so as to eliminate any negative influences on the younger generation. It might seem difficult at first, but would only be beneficial in the long run.
Suggest other ways of combating this menace below in the comments section.