I believe that mobile phones are not in the best interests of a child and ruin his life. Phones do more harm than good causing sleep deprivation, low self-esteem and anxiety and they cause accidents. Mobile phones are like a time bomb waiting to destroy children’s lives and in some cases they already have.
One of the major risks of mobile phones is the lack of sleep they cause in children. According to sleep expert Els van der Helm and clinical sleep psychologist Ellie McGlinchey, more than 50% of teens between the ages of fifteen and seventeen sleep seven hours or less each night. Being a teenager is hard, but being a sleep-deprived teenager is even harder. 72% of children, aged 6 to 17, sleep with at least one electronic device in their room. The blue light released by screens restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep cycle. Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep meaning grumpy kids in the morning for parents to deal with. For better sleep, children are advised to have at least thirty minutes of screen-free time before going to bed. Even better, make the child’s room a tech-free zone and keep all devices out of the room. Parents should be strong role models and also keep their phones out of the bedroom.
Low self-esteem and anxiety are things no parent want for their kids and phones are one of the main reasons for this. When kids don’t receive texts or phone calls they think: “Why didn’t he or she call me? Am I not good enough?”. Research has shown the relation between smartphone use and psychological behaviors such as self-esteem and personality traits. In general, people who have high levels of anxiety and loneliness receive fewer texts and phone calls. Since the 2007 launch of iPhone, rates of loneliness amongst teens have soared, plus a worrying decrease in mental wellbeing. According to figures collected by Leon M Twenge, “the number of teens spending time with friends and family nearly every day dropped by more than 40% between 2007 and 2017 with loneliness also rising”. Well, I wonder, why is that? I’ll tell you why: every teenager has such devices within reach. “Teens are dating less too with 20% less putting themselves out there in 2017 than before 2007”. The problem is that screen interactions do not fulfil our need to connect in the same way as face-to-face interactions. Twenge explained: “Screen interactions might be convenient, but they don’t provide the same benefits as face-to-face interaction”. If a child is feeling low because of their phone, we should encourage his/her to get out the house and have some good old fashion fun with their friends.
Mobile phones cause many accidents every year. Teens are so addicted to phones and it is harming not only themselves but other people on the road. In Australia, distraction has been identified as a factor in 22% of car accidents and a staggering 71% of truck accidents. It’s also been identified as a contributing factor in 46% of ‘near crashes’. This is absolutely catastrophic but what’s even more staggering is that even though we tell kids these statistics to scare them from using their phone while driving, they still use them. A study by the Australian government in 2017 found that 59% of mobile phone users in Australia used their phone while driving. Of these only 28% reported using a hands-free car kit. Just the other day I was going to footy training and saw at least 5 people on their phones while driving, I couldn’t believe my eyes. What’s so important on their mobile phones to risk theirs and others lives? Phones are quite literally killing people and this needs to be stopped.
Mobile phones are like the Fremantle Dockers, they ruin everything. I know parents don’t want to upset their beloved children, so they let them do what they want with their phones. But I am sure that we must end this addiction once and for all, because the effect of mobile phones on children are extremely harmful.