Are mobile devices weapons of mass distraction? [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) PARENTS should monitor and limit children's time spent on those ubiquitous mobile devices which can become obsessive. Smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other digital devices are weapons of mass distraction because of their addictive nature, multi-functionality, mobility and omnipresence. They are with us 24/7 - in our pockets or handbags while we are awake and beside our beds while we sleep.
Their use is so widespread today that 38 per cent of Americans under 2 years use them for watching videos, playing games and other media-related purposes. By 8 years old, 78 per cent already own a mobile device.
These devices can put social media, videos, games, movies and TV shows instantly within reach. Their content includes pornography, violent and other inappropriate materials - all within easy access in private and obscured from parental supervision.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has advised parents to limit their children's time in front of screens, which it says may lead to attention problems, exposure to inappropriate content and obesity.
Smartphones can disrupt children's sleep patterns. In a recent F survey, four out of five smartphone-owning teens sleep with their phone on or by their bed in case they got a text. Sleep is especially important for growing children.
Mobile devices work by using radio waves. That's radiation and its not advisable for children to be exposed at a very young age.
For teenagers, using the mobile phone when driving is also a huge risk. In Britain, it was reported last year that children as young as 4 are becoming so addicted to smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment.
Mobile devices and the social media also expose children to cyber bullying, which is social harassment via text, instant messaging or other social media. Some cases have resulted in suicides. Many smartphones have a "location sharing" feature, which could raise concerns about people stalking children as they go from place to place.
According to studies, overuse of such devices can have many psychological, behavioural and neurological side effects.
Mobile devices are powerful and mind-altering.Among its drastic effects, according to research:
DIMINISHES depth of thinking - we become shallow thinkers and less intelligent beings;
DISTRACTS and disrupts concentration - their addictive nature can leave you with an attention span of nine seconds - the same as a goldfish;
CHANGES our reading behaviour - we become cursory readers, browsing instead of actually reading; and
PROMOTES the habit of multitasking - multitaskers are less able to concentrate and focus on a particular task. They are less patient, creative, productive and not able to make good decisions. Multitasking is also addictive and causes stress.
S. M. Mohamed Idris, President, Consumers Association of Penang
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