It is safe to say that roughly 70-75% of the world’s population is hooked on smartphones nowadays. It’s the first thing you check before sleeping and the first thing you look for upon arising. Every single waking moment, you constantly check on it and spend idle hours fidgeting with your device and the many apps you got stored there. The mere existence of smartphones has virtually erased the word “boredom” in our dictionary because you won’t run out of things to do with it and you don’t even have to go out of the house or be somewhere to have a good time. Adults nowadays can’t live with it but more so with kids that grew up with these devices littered in their homes. Even a young toddler can navigate a smartphone much better than an adult who is still learning to use one.
As entertaining and as useful it may be, excessive smartphone use has its drawbacks and it all boils down to addiction. And what’s even more disturbing is that even young kids have embraced this addiction that parents and other older adults are starting to get really worried for their health and well-being if this obsession with smart gadgets continues. Even Apple’s investors are speaking up on this issue and urging the company to take measures on how to curb excessive smartphone use among the youth because it has a big impact to their health and normal growth and development.
“As one of the most innovative companies in the history of technology,” the investors write, “Apple can play a defining role in signaling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do.”
Research into smartphone addiction is still in its infancy. Studies tend to be retrospective, anecdotal, qualitative, or reliant on self-reported data. (The investors, in their letter, cite “common sense” as well as peer-reviewed journal articles.) Part of the problem is that psychologists haven’t agreed upon what qualifies as smartphone addiction—or even that it’s a disorder at all.
There are lots of studies not being done to determine the extent of smartphone addiction among kids and its detrimental effects to their health and well-being and it is raising awareness to the community at large as to why kids should not be overexposed to these tech advances. Because of tech use, kids are exposed to harmful blue light. They also stay up late at night as they become oblivious to the time while browsing through their social media newsfeed or playing a game they like. They also go through certain emotional and psychological issues in their use of SNS and cyberbullying is also increasingly being reported today.
The average American teenager who uses a smart phone receives her first phone at age 10 and spends over 4.5 hours a day on it (excluding texting and talking). 78% of teens check their phones at least hourly and 50% report feeling “addicted” to their phones. It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally.
Noting that Apple’s existing parental controls are limited and third-party software is confusing, Jana and CalSTRS want the company to design better, intuitive ways for parents to protect children. To get there, the investors recommend that the company form an expert committee, preferably including the popular Twenge, and partner with academics “to assist additional research efforts.”
People are speaking out about this now seeing that for instance, Apple’s existing parental control is not enough to prevent children from getting too immersed and obsessed with their smart devices. They are urging the company to conduct more research studies that will delve deeper into the problem and hopefully find answers and solutions to this problem. Kids should not rely too much on gadgets in doing things for them or spend all their time fidgeting with it because their growing mind and body need to experience life as it is so they grow up well-balanced and ready to take on the world because of their practical understanding of how the world works.
Kids that are well-rounded will be able to tackle future adult issues much better than the ones who appear pretty clueless on a lot of things because they were too absorbed in their virtual world and missed out on the chance to do things on their own and learn from their mistakes and experiences. Eventually, they will experience their fair share of the problems later on such as data loss and then hopefully Mac data recovery services, which are mundane issues we face on a daily basis. By then, it’s fine for them to know about because it can save them from mental and financial headaches but more so because it is finally their business to worry about their things and not yet now when they’re supposed to be growing up and discovering the world.