Mobile devices have become a blessing and a curse at the same time. While on the one hand, they can help you stay connected and on the lookout for all your tasks, they can also generate extreme dependence, especially on children.
It is currently becoming a common practice among parents to give their children a cell phone or tablet to play or watch cartoons, without knowing that they are perhaps accessing adult content. The damage they are doing is very serious, even Apple shareholder companies published a letter asking the brand to help reduce the use of devices in minors and for parents to have greater control over them.
Open letter on children’s cell phone use
The letter for Apple was written by shareholder Jana Partners and the Teacher Retirement System of the State of California, which collects about two million dollars in iPhone shares. In the letter, they ask that Apple study the effects of excessive cell phone use and help parents control it in their children.
Although Apple already offers some parental control systems, such as those that prevent viewing videos with adult content, shareholders want more mechanisms to be put in place that allow full control over access to the device:
We have reviewed the evidence and believe it is more than clear that Apple should offer more options and tools to help parents ensure that young consumers are optimally using their products.
We trust that Apple will be equally committed to its follow-up. As we noted in our initial letter, mobile device technology will continue to evolve and research into optimal use will continue to focus more, which means it must be a continuous effort.
Smartphones cause other harm to children
Less attention in class
A study conducted by the Center for Child Health and Media at the University of Alberta, Canada, surveyed more than 2,300 teachers and 67 percent of them believe that most students are distracted by technologies; In addition, 75 percent of them have lost the ability to concentrate on tasks.
90 out of 100 professors said that the number of students with emotional problems increased and 85 affirms that it is due to the social problems that are generated by the information they consume with cell phones.
An increased risk of committing suicide
One of the studies conducted by the shareholder and professor in psychology, Jean M. Twenge, of the University of San Diego, California, showed that adolescents who spend more than three hours a day in front of an electronic device are more likely to commit a suicide than those who do only one hour; in the case of those who remain more than five hours the risk is up to 71 percent.
Depression levels increase
Twenge argues that the possibility of having depression is greater in young users, that is, those in the last year of basic education. On the other hand, the University of Pittsburgh scientists concluded that social networks can generate depression and youth anxiety.
There is less empathy
Another data from the study by the University of California concludes that children who stay more than five days without access to a device develop more empathy and control emotions and feelings better. A similar investigation by the American Psychological Association analyzed more than 3,500 Americans and found that at least 58 percent have problems with their mental and physical health due to the use of social networks.
In a statement sent to the Wall Street Journal, the company said it is committed to meeting or exceeding customer expectations, especially when the matter involves minors; In addition, they pledged to improve technologies that have already been incorporated into the iPhone operating system.
The key is to limit cell phone use in children
It is not only a task that Apple must perform, but the responsibility of the parents. Ideally, the devices are not available to children, especially if they are under two years old. During the childhood stage, the idea is to help them balance digital entertainment with traditional games, so digital learning will be complemented by motor skills rather than affecting them.