I was met with a strange sight the other day at the mall. Six young things were seated around a polished chrome table at the Food Zone but there was no conversation, no loud guffaws, or backslapping! On closer inspection, I saw all of them were only physically with their friends, but actually all their ‘talking’ was being done through text messages on their cell phones!
I sat and watched them for some time, fascinated by this new trend among the young. How their fingers flew over the keypads, how they shared messages or photos with their friends and then there were a few chorus of “Forward! Forward!”…leading to yet more typing, or for the smartphone owners, swishing on the screen.
Even at home, I am driven crazy by the message pings of netizen daughter’s phone, or the “you have received a message’ drawl on sonny boy’s new phone. (Let me remind you that I got my kids cell phones after they completed their schooling and had to start travelling alone to college). To do them justice, they patiently bear my exasperated, “How many messages can one receive each day?” with saintly forbearance. But I really need to know what drives them to text and what the likely outcomes of constant texting are.
Other than the fact that texting distracts the user, leading to attention gaps, carelessness and erratic sleeping times, excessive texting can lead to various health issues like thumb deformities, drop in concentration and exposure to radiation.
The behaviour patterns of the kids are naturally affected. Instead of being gregarious, talkative and energetic, teens are becoming more reclusive, aggressive, and secretive.
Safety and Privacy
One can easily download virus during P2P file sharing, downloading from questionable sites or from phones that have been attacked by virus. If any one of the phones is not protected adequately, the virus has 99% chance of being passed on from one user to another, and even to the home computer or laptop when kids hook up their phones to transfer data.
What can parents do?
- You should not spend too much time yourselves texting, even though it is office work. Kids consider their dealings with their friends equally, if not more, important
- Fix texting times and ban texting during dinner, study and sleeping hours. Cell phones must be switched off at these times. If kids need to consult friends over study matters, advise them to call using the family phone
- When having a party for kids, consider asking kids NOT to bring along their cell phones. Make it a part of the party theme
- Don’t allow kids to carry their handheld games to outings or parties. Teach them that it is rude and unsocial behaviour
-Lastly, ensure all their internet-enabled gadgets have security software to protect them from online dangers
Teach your child that and excess of anything is called abuse and not use. Use cell phones wisely.