Smartphones have had an intense impact on all our lives – as adults, teenagers, young children or toddlers. You no longer need a desktop or a laptop to access the internet – it’s at your fingertips the entire time through the smartphone. There is a huge debate on the effect of smartphones on the new generation – but is it the generation of parents which has been affected or the generation of children who are growing up with these smart devices. Much was said about the net having a negative impact on millennials who grew up with access to the net, and they seem to have turned out seemingly unhurt by access to the net. Let’s try to find some answers to the question: have smartphones destroyed a generation?
Have smartphones destroyed a generation? Here are some insights
There has been so much written about the effect of smartphones on kids. This has made some parents paranoid. They are also confused, as their children use smartphones to further their academic achievements. However, smartphones also become the site for cyber-bullying and other such vices. There is the tendency to think that smartphones distract children, cause ADD and so on. Can we go so far as to say that smartphones are destroying our children? Opinion is divided about that. According to a recent article, children are becoming isolated and depressed due to overexposure to smartphones. Which takes us to the next question: Are children more unhappy today?
How happy or unhappy are children today?
Many conflicting articles on the net that seem to prove that smartphones could be the most toxic thing in children’s lives today. These write-ups cannot be ignored either. The impact of smartphones on our children has to be taken seriously. Are they really making them unhappy? According to a recent article, which by the way, did not measure depression and anxiety, so it is not yet possible to test the happiness quotient. So the alarm about whether smartphones are destroying our children, may not be that bad.
Besides, we cannot keep our children away from the latest advances in technology when the whole world is surging forward. Would you really be willing to take the blame when your child is upset because he/she has no knowledge of the latest networking technology? In fact, a study conducted in 2010 found that children are happier today and have better life satisfaction than children in previous decades.
Also, the ‘happiness data’ over time has been constant. No single thing seems to have influenced the happiness of the children. However, experts say that there may be a slight dip in the future. But have smartphones destroyed a generation of social media?
Who is more affected by the smartphones?
Those who spend hours staring at the screen are the most affected ones. This could either be the children or their parents. Maybe the real reason behind this is that the children are not getting enough attention from their parents. In earlier decades, when they were no smartphones or internet, and it was safer for children to play with their friends out on the street, children were happier. There were still bullies then, and there will always be bullies to make our children unhappy, in the form of cyberbullies, parents could get away with paying less attention to their children.
The effects of inattention
Now, however, due to various reasons, parents are more engaged in their children’s lives. They pick and drop them from activities, organize playdates and so on. But do they talk enough with their children? Do they know what goes on in the minds of their kids? It’s not a rare sight to see both parent and child staring at their smartphones when they do have time to talk. Many parents are tuned out of their children’s lives because of social media and other things available easily on the smartphone. Is this perhaps causing the real unhappiness in children? So have smartphones destroyed a generation – which generation are we talking about?
Using smartphones as a tool
To avoid a negative impact of smartphones on our children, we have to turn it into a tool and mentor our children regarding their use of smartphones. We also need to be there for them when they need us and encourage positive behaviour.
There’s no going back from smartphones and only time will tell the role they played in the social aptitude/ineptitude and mental health of our children. As of now, all we can do is keep an eye on the sites our children browse and the time our children are spending on their smartphones. And as we can teach best by example, we have to check our smartphone time and internet habits and spend more ‘quality time’ with our kids.