Tech Development: Impact on Teens
The first mobile phones were quite bulky and difficult to carry around. They were owned mostly by businessmen or other professionals for just work related communication, and were far from a source of entertainment. Without offering any LCD screen to display text or even the phone number one had dialed, these primitive cell phones could only be used for making or receiving calls.
In contrast, mobile phones of nowadays have become an everyday need, and for most people life can become impossible without them. From teens to working adults to old and retired people, almost every person owns at least one cell phone. With an average cell phone weighing not more than a few ounces, one can easily pocket two phones at a time for work and for personal use. Text messages have become so common that they have largely replaced phone calls and voicemails. Even the cheapest cell phone model today would have some pre-installed games to play.
Smartphones these days have incredibly advanced operating systems which come close to those of personal computers. They allow all kinds of services which required separate devices earlier on. Now you do not need to keep a camera, calculator, compass, notebook or telephone diary if you have a good smartphone. E-mail notifications can also be received on them without your having to log in.
However, with all these wondrous features there are also a number of challenges that show up, especially with regards to children. Parents will notice that their teenagers will mostly be found glued to their cell phones, either texting their friends, playing games or using Facebook. There is a myriad of smartphone apps that can keep your child entertained for an indefinite period of time. Most kids have given up sports and other physical activities since they have gotten hold of their cell phones. Even visits to friends and relatives have been somewhat replaced by communication and interaction on Facebook. During classes, many kids try to use their cell phones while the teacher is not looking, defeating the purpose of lectures.
Apart from this, children are also exposed to cyber threats because of their smartphone use, such as bullying or blackmail. Making friends with just any stranger on the internet and revealing one’s personal information can have dire consequences, keeping in mind that many cyber criminals target children for this purpose.
In light of the aforementioned realities, parents should make sure their children are not misusing their phones or smart devices. There are several ways to get that done:
- Do not buy your child a smart device until he/she reaches a mature age and is less likely to misuse it. Make do with a regular cell phone that can be used for calling and texting without offering too many amazing features.
- Educate your children about the proper use of a smartphone before buying one for them. Make some rules at home, such as not using the cell until homework is done.
- Keep track of your kid’s cell phone activities. At times you will give anything to learn more about your child’s situation, especially if he/she is behaving strangely and could possibly be a victim of cyberbullying. You simply have to install a mobile spy on your child’s smartphone, which will immediately become hidden and start logging the phone’s activities. All records of incoming and outgoing SMS, MMS, phone calls and e-mails will be accessible to you. App and URL control features can also allow you to block certain games or websites on the phone that consume too much of your child’s time.