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Mobile Phones & Our Kids

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A smartphone is an addictive device which traps a soul into a lifeless planet full of lives― Munia Khan

By: Umar Afzal Dar

Well! I had a chuckle while taking a walk to our local playground. The reason of my chuckle was that I found kids, who were believed to be engaged in any sports activity, were busy in handling their Smartphones with their eyes glued to the screens just at a few centimetres gap.

What made us so addicted that in a sports arena where we should be playing sports and doing some exercises for being fit & fine, we remain glued to these smartphones? Young pals with mere age of 12-16 years seem to be more addicted than the adults. Have you ever given a thought to this? Who is responsible? The question always remains hanging. Nobody is able to give the perfect answer. Some say it is the sole responsibility of parents to keep close watch on their wards. Some are of the opinion that teachers have this responsibility to keep the students away from these gadgets. If I may be asked the same question, I will answer none among two is wholly responsible for this nuisance of mobile addiction.

There was a time when high graphic end games were available for only PC and gaming consoles. Those high casted computer systems were affordable only to the upper class of society and to a limited section of populace. However, the addiction was not to the extent as seen in present time.  Nowadays with the advancement in Science &Technology, these games are easily available on any smartphone, that is present in everyone’s hand. On the economic side, the cost of these smartphones is not much and is upto the reach of an average person.

Until March 2020, only the adults were engaged with the mobile games. Now the school going young lads seem to be falling in this trap of smartphone addiction. I have done a survey in my locality and I found out of 100, 80 kids have their smartphones from parents only after the online teaching were started. The parents of our kids didn’t own smartphone till recent times as they didn’t felt the need of keeping one. Nevertheless, when the online classwork of most of the schools was announced, most parents had to buy a new device. The smartphone was a necessity to do the job as the applications over which the online classes were delivered were supporting only on smartphones. What after the online classwork, these students started to download the virtual gaming application and started to play them all the way from dawn to dusk and beyond. They become addicted as these games are being played over network servers and they remain connected to their fellows even being physically at respective homes.

So who can you blame, Covid-19 or yourself. Your kid is taking a negative way by going to extreme levels in these games and you are not able to handle it. You can’t snatch the smartphone from him as he will complain about the Online Classes. What are you going to do? You have no option but to counsel your ward about the ill effects of these games. You have to make him understand that this is not a game where you are going to be benefitted in any way. You have to convince him/her that this addiction will only impact his/her career and health. You have to convince and encourage your wards to read books. The smartphone has been a bone, but it has proved a death-leading staircase in many cases.

Apart from the mobile game addiction, these school going kids every now and then send you friend request on Facebook. A kid in my neighbour, I guess studying in 3rd class is sending me friend request. What for! Oh God, Why he needs to operate a Facebook account. Where are we leading to? Our kids search for what they should not and they are becoming addicted to it.

To avoid mobile addiction in your kids, stop showing them cartoons shows and other funny videos to lure them to take their meals. Didn’t the kids like us eat when there were no mobile phone in our family? Why you yourself make your kids dependent on something when it can be handled easily. Are you yourself bored to handle your kids and spent time with them. Before this addiction leads your kids to bad situation in life, you must yourself stop using this smartphone in family and spent some time with your family. You will see both you and your family will start flourishing and your kids will remain safe from this deadly addiction. Your wards will do what you are teaching them. You feel yourself lucky that your kid is using smartphone and after some time when he/she does not do anything without the mobile phone then you blame the technology.

The writer is doing research in International Relations and can be reached at umar.afzal@islamicuniversity.edu.in

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