What Are the Harmful Effects of Mobile Phones On a Child?

Understanding the effects of mobile phones on a child would help you better control their exposure to mobile phone, especially in this modern time. It seems like it’s the new trend now; parents are all out, showing the world just how much they love their children by buying them expensive mobile phones. These days, a child in primary school have access to the internet unprotected and their parents brag about it. They enjoy the euphoria that comes with being seen as trendy parents but at what expense?

Although some parents have decent reasons for getting their children mobile phones. Some do it to be able to contact their kids whenever the need arises and for security reasons. In any case, it is vital you know the side effect of introducing mobile phones to your child or children. That would help you find a way of managing the situation.

In this article, you will be introduced to various harmful effects of mobile phones on a child and also various safety tricks you can make use of to remedy the situation.

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What Are the Harmful Effects of Mobile Phones on a Child?

They include:

1. Threat to Health

There has been a lot of speculation about the impact of cellphone radiation on our bodies. Allowing children to make use of cell phones may lead to the following health issues:

i. Non-malignant ( Benign) Tumors: Various studies have shown that children who make use of cell phones have the possibility of developing non-malignant tumours in the ears and brain.

ii. Affects Brain Activity: Some studies have suggested that the human brain is sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, but there is a great need for further studies to prove that the radiation can cause harm to the brain.

Since mobile phones primarily function based on electromagnetic radiation for all communication forms and the brain also has its electric impulses, it may affect brain activity.

Most certainly, the content that the child is exposed to and the screen time will surely have an effect on the brain of the child. It is of great importance that parents should control their screen time and ensure that they are exposed only to games and programs suitable for their age.

2. Effects on Mental Health

The use of smartphones can make a child addicted to social media as most of them use this as a tool for connecting with friends and being updated on the latest trends. They may begin to compare themselves with others and may also post inappropriate content in other to get more engagement.

The internet is very vast and children may encounter several inappropriate behaviours which may affect their mental health negatively. New studies have suggested that spending an hour a day with their smartphones can cause an increase in depression and anxiety in children. It has also shown that kids and teens who use social media, may have low self-esteem, anxiety, and poor quality sleep.

3. Affects their Ability to Learn

These days, it’s common practice for children to go to their school and classes with their cell phones. The phones take their time and greater attention as they tend to pay less attention to what is being taught in class, this makes them miss out on important information being passed on to them and consequently leads to low performance during exams and poor grades.

The use of cell phones also creates a high chance of exam malpractice as smartphones can store a lot of educational information, and it also helps children to get answers easily. They can easily store screenshots or pictures of notes, search on the internet for answers, use the inbuilt calculator in tests that do not allow the use of a calculator, and even for exchanging of answers with others during exams.

These behaviours have been observed in various schools and they will not only lower their grades but also limit their learning capacities.

4. Eye Discomfort and Damaged Eyesight

At this time, there is not enough research to prove that looking at screens for a long duration can cause permanent eye damage but it certainly causes discomfort. Adults and children who excessively use their smartphones will experience this discomfort, children are most likely to develop symptoms which pain, blurred vision, dry eyes, and headache.

Most children involve themselves in playing online games and watching videos for long hours, which affects their eyesight. Children aren’t always cautious of the way they hold their cell phones and tend to hold them very close to their eyes and eye specialists from various parts of the world have advised this as something to be avoided.

5. Disruption of Sleep

Most children stay up late, using their smartphones. They could be talking to their friends via chat, playing games, watching videos or just scrolling through social media. Staring mindlessly and operating the cell phone at late hours and over a long period can cause restlessness and fatigue as late night usage of electronic devices can reduce sleep timing.

This reduction in sleep timing is due to the emission of blue light which is known to be harmful to the eyes and also responsible for tricking the brain into thinking that it’s still daytime.

Recent studies have shown that the lack of quality sleep in children can affect their physical development, productivity, and academic life as they will be too sleepy in class to pay attention.

6. Inappropriate Behaviour

The use of cell phones can expose children to certain behaviour that is not proper.  They may come across inappropriate texts or images shared by friends or in a group and pass them on to others. They can also find their way to pornographic media at an early stage and may want to try out what they have seen or watched. This creates damage that may be difficult to reverse.

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Safety Tips to Decrease the Harmful Effects of a Phone on a Child.

1. Age Factor

On a general note, you may withhold handling a phone to a child that is less than 16 years old. You can stay in touch with teachers to ensure your child’s safety and health. Some parents may choose otherwise and that is fine as well, but the parents should make sure that the child has no access to distracting or inappropriate content.

2. Keep your Child Engaged

With fewer play spaces, more children are forced to stay indoors. They may spend their time playing with toys or may get hooked to a smartphone. To prevent its occurrence, you can take the child for a walk or to a nearby playground to spend some time running, playing, and also meeting with other children.

You can also take the time to teach the child about important things in life which may not be taught in school. You can also encourage them to pursue hobbies like painting, writing, reading, and art. The extra activities will help in keeping them engaged.

3. Be a Good Example

Many parents spend too much time on their smartphones and it may not be easy to keep their children away from the phone. Hence, parents should try and limit the usage of their mobile phones, especially around their children.

4. Bond with your Child

Many parents tend to lead busy lives, but it is necessary to take the time out to bond with your children by playing with them or engaging them in home activities like cooking or cleaning. This will make them feel valued and stop the use of smartphones to escape loneliness.

5. Minimize their screen time

If you think your kids can’t do without mobile phones, then set up a screen time. Don’t stop there, monitor them while they use the phones and take the phones back once the stipulated time hits.

At night, keep your phone safely with you and out of their sight, as they may try to get a hold of it without your notice.

6. Install Parental Control Applications

This will help you control the type of information accessible to your children as well as monitor them.

7. If you must get your children a mobile phone, do not let them take their mobile phones to school. This will allow them to pay attention to what is being taught in class.

8. Introduce your children to the dangers of social media

Parents should also teach children the dangers, threats, and safety measures of social media. Children should also be taught how to block unwanted communication and parents should endeavour to keep track and be watchful of their children’s activities.

The use of smartphones today has become a blessing and a curse for various youngsters. It has been used as a tool for study (especially during the pandemic), in a fun and engaging way, to express creativity and also stay connected.

On the other hand, excessive use of it will hurt a child’s overall health and development of the child. Researchers believe that children are more likely to be affected by phone radiation than adults. This is because children have small heads and thin skulls which make it easier for radiation to penetrate the brain.

With new research shedding more light on the harmful impacts of phones on a child, various countries have issued warnings against the use of cellphones cell.