13 Reasons To Ban Them Until 13

For some 5 years studies are being published related to the use of mobile phones and their impact on the behavior patterns of children and adolescents. This research is usually led by universities, but in particular I would like to focus this blog on a branch of medicine, Pediatrics. In fact, at least the Japanese Society of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society, have agreed on the conclusions about the effects of the exposure to these devices, claiming that children under 13 should not use them. For these associations, babies from 0 to 2 years old should not have any contact with this technology; children from 3 to 5 years could be at the most spending an hour a day in front of screens (always under strict control and supervision of parents); ranging in ages from 6 to 18 years the exposure should be limited to 2 hours a day. Even for video games a minimum age of 13 is recommended, limiting its use to 30 minutes a day.

What reasons do they have to ban mobiles for children?

1- Brain development: Studies show that excessive and early exposure to screens can accelerate the development of a part of the brain (they make early associations on the touch process that generates a reaction in the device), but it also diminishes the other functions, getting to cause delays in cognitive development, learning problems (literacy and comprehension), increased aggressiveness and impulsivity.

2- General development of the child: These children have physical problems related to coordination and mobility, as well as balance, but also to attention and concentration as we’ll see below.

3-Obesity: Physical problems mentioned in the previous section are also related to physical inactivity associated with excessive exposure to screens, potentially leading to vascular diseases.

4- Sleep: Since most parents do not supervise their children (especially at night when they are in their rooms), they are unaware that children have more difficulty sleeping and resting the hours they need, which negatively impacts in their academic performance and learning process, but also on their health, both physical and mental.

5- Mental health: In addition to attention deficit disorder, anxiety, depression, and even bipolar disorders are increasing with the overuse of new technologies.

6-Anti-social and aggressive behavior: Years ago this problem was associated with video games. Currently the contents are much more violent and aggressive than before, they incite to generate a greater degree of violence that also, with technological advances, is increasingly graphic. The consequences are being tragic, having cases with kids that reproduce the same behaviors in real life.

7-Inattention: We have already discussed in other posts (Losing Human Touch) that in general, we have reduced our attention span since we use new technologies. But in addition to this, children are seeing reduced their ability to concentrate and therefore their capacity for being patient, as the immediacy is addictive and changes behavior patterns.

8-Addiction: As it is clear from the studies conducted by the entities mentioned above, one of every eleven children aged 8 to 18 are addicted to new technologies. Whenever children use mobile devices, they get separated from their environment, family and friends.

9-Radiation: In 2011, the World Health Organization warned about the risks associated with radiation emissions from mobile phones, with a risk level classified as 2B (possible risk of cancer). By 2013 several doctors raised a degree of this classification to 2A (probable cancer risk). In addition, having the brain and immune system less developed, the risk for children is exponentially greater than for adults.

Four aspects affecting more to adults; although children suffer the consequences.

10-Vulnerability: Especially at an early age, children see the phones and the screens as toys. They are not aware these are tools, nor the scope and risks that are implied. Parents are the ones buying these devices, and many are not aware of the implicit risks either. Children are always more vulnerable than adults, but in relation to new technologies, this vulnerability increases exponentially with tragic consequences: kidnappings, suicide, rape, blackmail and extortion, addiction and changes in behavior.

11 Responsibilities: In many schools, mothers are opening chat groups with which “helping” the children with their homework. As a result children do not pay attention to writing them down, nor strive to resolve them, because with a simple pressure strategy, their moms will find the answers they need.

12-Manipulation: Especially in divorce cases, the phones are used as a gift for the children with two main objectives. First, to favor the giver and harm the other. Second, to control the ex-partner. It should be noted, again, that children are not guilty of the situations that occur among adults who have decided to “free” form a family and beget. In any case, the feelings and thoughts of children should never be manipulated like that, as it has long-term consequences, which will affect them in their life, in their social and personal relationships.

13-Illegality: The minimum age from which children can use popular applications, also used by adults, begin at age 13. Among other things this means that the companies themselves know the hazards involved in the use of their applications, platforms, (anti)social networks. That is, under the law, any problems caused by a minor under 13, will always make responsible to the adults.

Please think about this, please act accordingly.

Author: Dr. Gonzalo Torquemada

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