When it comes to the basic features for smart phones, most phones have the same core functionality. This would be the ability to act as a communication device, a multimedia device, and a mini application operating platform. There are, however dozens more features available to smart phones which vary from manufacturers to manufacturers. Smart phones have become a core piece of technology in the modern world; indeed, it is almost impossible for one to go through the day without using, or encountering a person who is using a smart phone. (Source: Net)
I was asked this question whether smart phones were a great idea or not. Of course they are. So many advantages are there, it is mind boggling. Especially if you are tech savvy, a smart phone is a blessing. In any case, technology is advancing, so people do want to be updated.
Now the question is how to keep children from being addicted to smart phones? Addiction is present in all spheres, in all areas. With all gadgets. Name a thing which does not lead to addiction!
Why blame a product when people do not learn or cannot teach others how to handle it. Smart phones are conveniently used as baby sitters; so how can you blame the child and say he/she is addicted to it? A child sits quietly with a phone, playing/downloading/reading/learning new skills, etc. The Parents are happy; they can carry on with their activities. Soon handling a smart phone becomes a necessity and a habit.
How many adults are able to keep their smart phones away? Does not each ting or tinkle make them reach for the phone? With so many ways of keeping in touch and other apps available, a person is constantly on the phone. What does a child see? All adults in his/her life is on the phone. Adults are either checking mails/sms/whatsapp; replying to messages/mails; checking status on facebook/twitter; looking for online bargains; even loading-to-do lists/reminders. And several other stuff that a smart phone can provide. So when an adult has barely any time for face to face conversation, play or even down time from the phone, how can a child or a teenager be accused of not having boundaries/ limitations?
Young adults do develop the thinking part of their brain. Teenager’s brain is first developing the emotional brain, then later comes on the thinking part. So in teens, any addiction is difficult to control or wean out of. Teenager brain is into thrill seeking and pleasure activities.
The adults have their thinking brain developed (hopefully!). So it is up to them to help their children learn to balance activities and areas in their lives. The more the children are involved in activities that does not require any digital/electronic device, the less time the youngster spends on these things. Adults can organize family times, reading times, hobbies without any electronic/digital objects, outings, group activities outside the home, encourage friends to drop in or send the kids out for some sports and hanging out, involve them in some social programs, etc. There are several organizations that offer activities like summer camps/ tree counting/heritage walks/reading for the visually impaired/spending time in orphanages/old age homes/blue cross, etc. There are people who come together to gather old but usable toys/clothes/spectacles/books, etc and redistribute them to the needy. Children can be encouraged to involve themselves with such groups and this also leads to them developing compassion.
Any child will love to spend time with parents playing silly or fun games. Board games, cards, dumb charades, anthakshari, or even cleaning the house in a fun way can be enjoyable. Adults can make this happen. A child wants to spend time with parents. Parents need to make this time. Everyone has 24 hours only, parents are not given extra time, unfortunately.
It is not that children should not be given digital toys or smart phones to play with. If you can afford (you do not mind your kid probably damaging it,) then some time with these gadgets is not all wrong. With mind games offered in them, children learn to be dexterous, thinking on the spot, learn from mistakes (you can reload the game!), learn to play games like nine pins, gilli danda, chess and of course cricket. So knowledge improves and so does vocabulary. But with judicious and controlled time, overall development is possible.
Parents and adults play an important, responsible role here.