Smartphone: “The challenge for a human now is to be more interesting to another human than his or her smartphone.” – Alain de Botton, author
Up to 70 percent of school kids are suffering from depression and anxiety, according to the kids themselves, and the cause?
What continues to be puzzling is why school officials and parents don’t clamp down on smartphone use in class and at home.
If that 70 percent figure is a shock, it comes from a report by the highly respected Pew Research Center.
We have known about the problems created by excessive and careless smartphone use for quite awhile now. Using a mobile phone while driving is especially dangerous, and I’d still like to know why I always get stuck behind a user at stop-and-go light intersections. I try to be polite when I honk my horn, which causes the head of the driver in front of me to bob upward, and sometimes that well-known hand signal also pops up.
Last session, the state Legislature had an opportunity to address texting but failed to do so. Our state’s laws on texting while driving are indefensibly weak.
The classroom presents a different challenge. While it’s obvious from the Pew study that kids believe smartphones are causing more stress than normal, there is a growing recognition among parents, educators and the medical field that anxiety caused by the device must be addressed.
Of course, it’s not just the smartphone, which is a conduit to social media. Experts also point out that the various sites such as YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc., provide an almost unlimited and overwhelming challenge for kids who feel they must check every avenue to make certain they are not missing something. One honors level instructor reported that a student received 150 Snapchat notifications in one hour.
This is serious business, and I haven’t even mentioned the “text neck” epidemic that is striking those who spend too much time looking at their phone.
What to do? Parents need to step up and say “no.” Yes, peer pressure is intense, and for those who say their kids need the phone so they can stay in touch, set firm limits for its use. And then monitor the boundaries. Sure, you trust your kids. But as President Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.”
Schools play a major role, too. Banning cellphone use in classrooms would not only help teachers, but the kids themselves. But the ban must be enforced.
Setting limits for smartphone use by kids only makes sense.
July 10, 2019