There has been plenty of debate already on the usefulness and, perversely, the distracting nature of the smartphone.
Parents and educators alike have expressed concern about how children, especially teenagers, are obsessed with smartphone use. Some parties are of the opinion that excessive smartphone and tablet use could interfere with children’s health and education.
Let’s first tackle what experts say about the negative and positive effects of the technology on the youth.
Negative Effects of Smartphone Use
The most obvious damage that excessive smartphone use can inflict is on the child’s health. Of course, the effects are not limited to children alone but adults as well.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine - National Institute of Health, the use of mobile devices exposes people to RF or radio-frequency energy.
This exposure is not harmful all by itself, but, over time, as the user’s dependence on their mobile device grows, it exposes the individual to the considerable risk of developing brain cancer.
Not only that, the NIH says, spending significant amounts of time using the cellphone could also lead to alterations in brain activity, and could affect the quality of sleep that the body needs to recharge and refresh for the next day.
From a psychological perspective, too much usage of smartphones, Psychology Today says, can lead to an unhealthy attachment to the device.
In fact, the article revealed, experts have conducted a study on how teens feel about their mobile devices. According to them, teens tend to associate personal safety with their proximity to their smartphones.
On the other hand, if the device is taken away from them, teenagers and children experience symptoms of separation anxiety.
Worse, too much smartphone use can also lead to feelings of fatigue and tiredness. This was attested to by the Journal of Youth Studies, which found that teenagers are unable to attain quality sleep as they feel compelled to wake up at various times of the night to check on messages and social media.
The Globe and Mail points out that, in a workplace setting, notifications from social media can cause considerable disruption to an employee’s productivity.
In the context of a child, the constant buzzing of the phone due to social media can be seriously distracting. They disturb the child’s concentration when studying, as well as their sleep.
Pros of Taking Away Smartphones From Children at Night
As with every decision, there are always advantages and disadvantages. In this case, what are the pros and cons of taking away your child’s smartphone from them at night?
Well, it turns out that there are quite some advantages to taking away your kid’s smartphone or tablet from them before bedtime. These include:
child can focus on other things instead of texting or browsing social media
According to testimony on the website We Have Kids, one mother was able to get her son to go to sleep early as well as do other activities like cleaning his room or studying.
By taking away his smartphone, the mother was also able to get him out of his room and socialise with the rest of the family.
With smartphones on their hands near bedtime, it’s only possible that the child finds himself or herself staying up too late chatting with friends or reacting to posts in social media.
This is, of course, detrimental to their health especially when adolescents are in their major growth phase.
Your child gets enough rest
Once the disturbances caused by social media notifications on their smartphone, children can sleep better with nothing to disturb them. This allows them to rest and be ready for the next day properly.
Your child will be happier, experts say
to the Daily
Mail, experts are reporting after conducting extensive research that
children and teens who are attached to their smartphones are likely to be
These children, experts from the Korea University in Seoul say, are in danger of developing symptoms of depression. Imbalance in their brain chemistry also puts them at risk of extreme anxiety, while continuous lack of sleep can trigger insomnia.
By taking away the smartphone at night, you can compel your children to pursue other healthier activities like reading, exercising, or communicate with other family members the old-fashioned way.
What are the Disadvantages?
Of course, there are also disadvantages to taking away children’s smartphones at night. One of these, an article at the Huffington Post says, is that confiscating smartphones fosters feelings of solitary confinement, especially in a teenager.
The author of the article, Alyson Schafer, argues that, from a teenager’s perspective, removing access to their smartphones makes them think that you are severing their only connection to the world.
This is, she explains, due to a feeling of missing out on what’s going on in their circles. Unlike the previous generation, teens nowadays are connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through social media.
From their point of view, an hour of not going online means that he or she is considerably left out of what is happening with their friends. They’d have a lot to catch up to when that happens.
While acknowledging that the tactic is effective in some cases, Ms. Schafer also warns that children, particularly teenagers, are sure to retaliate the next morning with belligerent behaviour.
Should You Take Away Your Children’s Smartphones at Night?
In this case, it’s obvious that the positive outcomes outweigh the negative consequences of taking away your child’s smartphone at night.
However, you still need to maintain a balance so as not to hurt your relationship with your child or children. It’s undeniable that, once a smartphone becomes part of your kids’ life, feelings of resentment will arise with their confiscation.
The trick here is communication. If you exercise good communication between your children and yourself, it is easy to explain to them the logic of your decision.
Communicating with them regarding any decision you make that involves them also makes them feel valued, and mitigates feelings of resentment and anger towards you for whatever decision you made for them.
Give Your Kids Cases for Their Smartphones and Tablets
If your kid manages to cope with no smartphone usage at night, Congratulate him or her for a job well-done by buying some well-needed cases for their protection.
If your child or yourself has an Apple, Samsung or any other device, you’d love to have a stylish look of the gadget. Few of the ones that you could have are: