Mobile Phones and Children

Many parents give phones to their children, claiming that phones contribute to their safety and peace of mind. Therefore, it is not surprising to find children under twelve with mobile phones. Four-year-olds in the current world can even work on iPhones and iPads belonging to their parents. By the time they are twelve, many of them have their mobile phones.

A large portion of parents give phones to their children, claiming that phones contribute to their safety and peace of mind. Besides, other parents buy phones for their kids because they discover that their classmates or friends have phones or use them frequently. It is not surprising to find children under twelve with mobile phones. Four-year-olds in the current world can even work on the iPhones and iPads belonging to their parents. According to Druin, by the time they are twelve, they most likely will have their mobile phones.

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Cell phones have become an issue in these days. They are not any different from minicomputers since their functions are almost identical. Their features include anything concerning standard phone calls and surfing the internet. In the recent years, the technology of mobile phones has affected the adults, and with the growing knowledge and use of the device, it has affected the kids as well. As seen from a demonstration by Carlo, it is an important technology that can be beneficial to those who use it well. However, misusing or overusing it can have harmful impacts, especially on young children.

Negative Impacts of Mobile Phones on Children

Despite all the justifications parents give for providing their children with cell phones, the fact remains that children under 12 are too young to possess them. There are several negative impacts that mobile phones have for children of this age. As demonstrated, some of the harmful effects include health hazards, poor performance in academics, inappropriate behavior and exam malpractices.

Health Risks

The primary purpose of mobile phones is communication. The communication through cell phones entails emission of radiation, which is harmful to health. The study by The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed the effects of mobile phones on the activity of the brain. Also, the discovery by scientists has shown that speaking on the phone for just two minutes changes the brains electrical activity in kids. This alteration, as seen, can occur for a period close to an hour, which is enough to affect the entire brain activity.

The radio waves generated by phone penetrate the brain from the ear and cause a disturbance in the brain activity of children. When this disruption goes on for an extended period due to regular use of a mobile phone, it leads to impairments in the learning ability of children as well as other behavioral issues. It can even influence moods and disrupt the ability of children to study if they come from a break after using cell phones.

Another health hazard is cancer. The classification of phone radiation as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO) is a clear proof that cancer can be caused by the frequent use of mobile phones. The absorption rate of the radiation in children is greater than that in adults. Children can absorb over 60% of the radiation because they have thinner skin, bones and tissues, which facilitates the penetration of radiation. Also, they are more vulnerable to carcinogens, as Grigoriev states, because their nervous system is in the stage of development.

In addition to cancer, kids using cell phones have high chances of developing non-malignant tumors in one of the ears or the brain. Young children are vulnerable to such risks since they are still growing and their bodies are still developing immunity.

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Academic Performance

If children possess mobile phones, they carry them alongside their school supplies. Therefore, they engage too much in games and chats with their friends in school. Children become addicted to such habits, and they always talk over their phones when they have free time, so they allot less time to studying. Consequently, they are more likely to perform poorly in their academics, as Grigoriev has stated, because of missing lessons.

Inappropriate Behavior

Children can also get access to private photos with the help of mobile phones, compromising their behavior. Cell phones allow users to send and receive photos and videos. Mobile apps and tools such as Bluetooth, Flash Share, WhatsApp, Telegram, IMO and Facebook allow sharing of files, mainly videos and pictures. Therefore, children have access to private photos and videos, including the pornographic ones. According to Goggin and Hjorth, they can become desensitized due to such exposure, and it might result in acting out of sexualized behaviors with other children.

Moreover, when children see unfamiliar bodies engaging in sex, they become frightened and confused. Regular exposure eventually affects the functioning of the brain. When children develop an addiction to pornography, their brains functions change and their mind weakens. They cannot stop the habit on their own unless they go through the recovery process, just like drug addicts go through it when they are addicted to drugs.

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Exam Malpractice

It is common to find students cheating during their external and internal exams. Most of the pupils and students indulge in such malpractices due to lack of sufficient preparation or confidence that they can pass their examinations. The main way in which they cheat is with the help of mobile phones. Some students store educational materials in their cell phones to retrieve them during exams.

Moreover, some students use their phones as calculators when they are not allowed to use them as phones. Others who do not have exams can use their phones to send answers to their fellow students in the examination hall. All these malpractices can destroy the career of children since they acquire the habit of cheating. They get used to solve educational problems with the help of phones, and without them can become helpless. As Tung and Foster demonstrate, such malpractices can also result in dismissal from a school.

Misuse of Finances

As mentioned earlier, the primary purpose of mobile phones is communication. It requires money to call or send messages. Therefore, kids under twelve years need money for that. They begin to ask more pocket cash from their parents to purchase SIM cards. They become dishonest since they must ask for more money than they need for their school lunches. Phone bills can be very high due to regular purchases of airtime and mobile apps. Children cannot manage finances properly, as Tung and Foster explain, and these bills can waste a lot of parents money.

Moreover, children with cell phones can go for expensive in-app purchases. Mobile apps are usually cheap to buy, but children may succumb to temptation to buy optional extras that they can use for games to make their phone experience more enjoyable. A significant amount of traffic is necessary to download these apps, which makes them expensive.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying entails threating, humiliating, harassing and tormenting of children with the help of mobile phones, digital technologies and the Internet. The consequences of cyberbullying are a broad range of painful emotions such as fear, hopelessness, isolation, anger and depression. Such bullying can decrease the self-esteem of children and lead to their poor performance in school. And mobile phones are a danger in this respect, as it is through them or the Internet that children are usually exposed to bullying.

Serious cyberbullying can result in attempted suicide or, in the worst cases, in succesful suicide. Very few children let their parents know that they are bullied, and they can reach a condition in which they cannot manage their emotions anymore and, consequently, commit suicide. In fact, most children claim to ignore cyberbullying, but in reality they cannot ignore it, and it impacts them profoundly.

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Conclusion and Recommendations

The use of mobile phones among children has become a common phenomenon in the current world. Most parents are of the opinion that cellphones can help their children cope with emerging technologies. However, children are more vulnerable to the various damaging effects of cell phones as compared to adults, as stated by Grigoriev.

It is thus early for children to possess mobile phones if they are twelve years of age or younger. If they own them, they should be under a constant supervision of their parents and teachers, which can prevent the misuse of cell phones. It is the responsibility of parents to minimize childrens exposure to mobile phones to prevent the harmful impacts the phones have on them.

Parents should not give their cell phones to children who are younger than 12 since their bodies cannot withstand the mobile radiation effects. According to Tung and Foster, in cases in which children must use cell phones, their parents should ensure that they use an air-tube headset and do not hold the phone directly by the head. Furthermore, parents should not allow their children to carry mobile phones to schools. It will ensure that they concentrate while in classes and participate fully in the classroom lessons. It is also advisable for parents to keep mobile phones away from their childrens bedrooms at night.

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