As parents, we’re all concerned about the benefits and dangers of mobile phones and social media. We scour the internet, articles and books for answers. The digital revolution confronts parents with new concepts and ways to communicate- which we want our kids to be a part of, but we do not want to see them absorbed by the technological world. There are new ways of communicating and interacting with friends which is changing every part of our lives and society, Sometimes it’s too difficult to address and prevent all the consequences, however, there are a few things we can mitigate and manage.

    First, you need to know the effects on your child’s health:

    Teen Tendonitis: Teenagers are completely addicted to texting. Excessive messaging can lead to Teen Tendonitis (TTT) which can cause pain in the hands, back and neck due to poor posture. It can also lead to impaired vision and even arthritis further down the line.
    Stress: Having a mobile phone will tempt your teen to spend all day talking or texting instead of doing anything productive. Studies have proven that teens who spend too much time on their mobile phones are more prone to stress and fatigue. It can also lead to psychological disorders in some cases.
    Sleep Loss: Most teens keep their mobiles nearby when sleeping to respond to texts and calls. They feel pressurised to remain reachable around the clock. It leads to sleep interruption and disruption. Which results in an irritable sleep deprived teen.
    Accidents: Teens are more likely than adults to respond to calls and texts when driving or riding. They talk and text on the phone without realising it can cost them their and/or other people’s lives.
    Increases Anxiety: Relying on texting as a primary mode of communication can increase anxiety in teens. Texting is instantly gratifying, but it also produces anxiety. The instant reply can bring joy and elation, but if there’s a delayed response or no response, this same pleasure turns into disappointment.
    Cancer Risk: Research shows that electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones gets absorbed in the tissues when we hold the phone for longer periods. Teens’ nervous systems are still developing and they have a greater risk of developing brain cancer from mobile phones than adults.

    Make a plan
    You need to teach your teens about mobile phone safety and how to use them responsibly. They also need to have agreed boundaries for mobile phone usage. Here are some ways to avoid negative effects of mobiles on teenagers:

    • Negotiate with your teen about the acceptable amount of time and money spent on mobile phones
    • Tell them to curb their impulse of replying to texts
    • Turning off their mobile phone while driving
    • Turning off their mobiles before going off to sleep will help them maintain a regular sleep schedule
    • Teach your teen that short to moderate conversations on cellphones can reduce the possibility of cancer. Limit the conversation to no more than 20 minutes a day

    To conclude, it’s great to be part of the growing technological world and everyone should enjoy its benefits – including teenagers – but in moderation.

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