|Children playing pokemon go on their smartphones
Smartphone addiction never really makes headlines as often as it deserves, but a recent National surveys project reveal that 53% of children will own a smartphone by age 11. This is not an entirely worrisome thing because early exposure to high tech gadgets tends to boost productivity in children and it also enables them to assist their parents in many helpful ways. On the other end, what happens when these smartphones designed by numerous tech companies to promote efficiency among kids end up degrading it and even worse, increase addictive tendencies among these little ones. Experts believe that excessive access to smartphone technology could
negatively affect a child’s mental health.
A recent review carried out at King’s College London, showed one in four children including other people aged below 18 years, exhibiting behaviors which mental health experts called “problematic smartphone usage” -more deeply explained as “behaviors linked to smartphone use that resemble features of addiction.”
If this sounds a bit too far fetched that smartphone could never be addictive for kids, you might want to have a rethink especially when effects of prolonged smartphone usage mimick those of soft and hard drugs abuse (alcohol and tobacco among others).
Researchers have pointed out certain features of smartphone addiction which include tendencies of; “having an intense urge to use your phone,” “feeling panicked if it runs out of battery,” “neglecting other more important things to use it,” “spending more time on it than you first intended to,” “having other people complain about how much someone used their phone,” and “continuing to use it despite knowing how much it affected other areas of your life, including sleep or school work.”
And that’s not all, the study in highlighting the self-admissible behaviors of smartphone addiction, identifiable among a huge cross-section of kids further reported other linkable patterns involving insomnia (sleeplessness), anxiety, depression, and poor state of mental health.
The million-dollar question would be where to go from here?
Experts have stood shy of classifying these behaviors as an official addiction, as it is yet to be recognized by board-certified mental health professionals. The term “problematic smartphone usage” won’t be fading away anytime soon, because the effects are real and can be experienced by children -not excluding anyone else for
that matter. Those at the helm of field research say more findings have to be made before any conclusions can be drawn, but here’s the catch, the general mental well being of a child overtime is often realized when he/she uses a smartphone as productively timely as possible in the course of a day.