Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Parents should help their kids map out a boundary between helpful and harmful cellphone use

Are cellphones addictive? If cellphones are addictive, would you take your kids off one? Both questions are controversial and pose serious challenges for parents because teenagers are presently using cellphones more often in school that they seem to be dependent on those devices.

What is addiction? www.psychologytoday.com, defines it thus:

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

Parents, you can do more! Source: Wikimedia Commons
So, do cellphones fall into this category? Parents should be on the lookout for telltale signs that cellphone use by their kids are causing problems. Some students have been ingenious in using cellphones to cheat in class. College students have been reported to be agitated when their cellphone is not with them which behavior could result in internal and external conflict in the classroom. Your kids could find themselves unable to face the vagaries of life if they dodge behind a cellphone when challenging and awkward situations arise in school. Parents should be on the lookout for telltale signs.

This conclusion and more were arrived at in an extensive study of the cellphone use of college students in 24 cellphone activities of which 11 were found to be close to being termed addictive. The activities include calling, texting, emailing, banking, taking photos, using apps like iPod, Bible, Google Maps and Pinterest. Texting, sending emails and checking on Facebook took much of the students’ time than necessary.

Parents should help their kids map out a boundary for cellphone use. A useful tool like the cellphone should not turn out to be a device that should disrupt their lives because they lacked self-control. I think this is a call for action.

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