If your child uses their mobile phone to communicate independently with others or access the internet, it increases the risk that your child will come across content that bothers them. It also exposes your child to risks like cyberbullying, sexting, inappropriate content, and contact with strangers (Children and Phone Use).
In this statement alone I read four serious risks yet the general risks are far more worrying. Among these is that studies show that when children stay up on their mobile phones this can dramatically affect their school performance. And the risks are endless including the following:
- Affects On Brain Activity
- Sleep Disruption
- Academic disruption
- Mental Health
- Other Medical Issues
Alan Cox, A Principal of Temple Carrig School in Greystones wrote in an article in The Irish Times in 2018 that – over 60 per cent of secondary students are spending an average of more than three hours per day on their phones at home. Three hours a day that are impinging on their sleep and sleep patterns every bit as much as their friendships, family life and the development of normal, positive adolescent behaviours (Smartphones and children).
Today in the middle of a Pandemic that had resulted in two school closures, mobile phone use among children and teens has skyrocketed. February 9th 2021 The Irish Times further reports: Most children aged between eight and 12 now have a presence on social media or messaging apps, with almost one in three saying they have friends or followers online who are strangers in real life (Children and Mobiles During COVID).
The online safety charity CyberSafeKids has recently reported that multiple lockdowns over the past year appear to have led to a significant surge in online activity and a relaxation of rules related to internet access in many Irish homes.
Minimum age limits intended to restrict the most well known social media app platforms to children over the age of 13 appear to be having little or no impact on how and when children access the internet. The survey of more than 2,000 children, published to coincide with Safe Internet Day, reveals that 92 per cent own their own smart device, including 89 per cent of nine year olds. A further 82 per cent told researchers they had profiles on social media and messaging apps (CyberSafeKids).
Another article by childmind.org researched that cell phones are also especially risky for kids, including those with ADHD, who are prone to act impulsively. Their impulsivity makes them more likely to post or send something they may regret later on, and in a world where everything you create is recorded in cyberspace, they are at risk for making long-lasting mistakes (childmind.org).
So how can we protect our children from the affects of such devices? Unfortunately there are but two options:
- Do not let your child have a mobile phone.
- Get the ikydz Parent Control Device.
The iKydz device is an appliance that plugs into the back of the internet router at home, and is operable through an app on the parents’ phones.
It allows a parent manage the access a child has. It can shut them off at midnight. It helps them manage all the social media apps and it still allows the kids to be on the internet but not access those when they’re studying.
The world today has advanced in technology but we still have the right to control what is healthy for our children in terms of smartphones. Yes there is tremendous pressure on kids to have mobiles by other kids in school but ask yourself are all these risks really worth it?
Are mobile phones harming our children? The answer is clearly yes.
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