The Bold Voice of J&K

Menace of mobiles, screen media among children, youth

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Shiv Kumar Padha 

Our eighth class English teacher used to advise us to always begin the essay on ‘wonders of science’with the lines ‘nothing in the world is good or bad only its use makes it so’ which, at that time, carried no meaning for us. Now, we can well appreciate the message and depth underlying those lines. The modern age is the age of science and technology which has conquered the whole universe by dint of its latest inventions and innovations, amongst which the information technology is worth mentioning as it has enabled the mankind access the global information only by the click of the button. Internet, mobiles and the screen media is proving a great source of knowledge, information and entertainment to the subscribers in the modern world.
Where, on the one hand the information technology has brought in a great revolution in the field of global trade, health, information, weather forecasting, entertainment and surveillance, on the other its addiction and excessive exposure has brought with it many physical and emotional hazardsfor the kids and small children. We daily observe the young children and adolescents listening to the music with the earphones plugged in the ears while crossing the roads and railway tracks, driving, travelling in the buses and trains unmindful of what is happening around, which at many times result in fatal accidents. The children belonging to majority of families are seen huddled in a corner playing video games either on mobiles or IPods or are seen glued to the television screen staring at cartoon channelshours together. The addiction of children to these gadgets is not only telling badly upon their physical and mental health but it is also taking them away from the social network of relations.
There is no denying the fact that the mobiles have brought the world with in the clutches of mankind. One can intimate each other regarding the wellbeing, happenings, events, accidents and disasters taking place arround with twinkling of an eye. A few decades back the letters written on post cards and inlands were the only means of communication, which reached the addressee after months together. The relations felt contented and were never nervous about the long delay. The mobiles, which were considered as a weapon in the hands of the youth (boys and girls ) to be used in the event of any untoward incident, has become a dagger with which they are stabbing each other and the parents at home. It should never be inferred that the mobiles are dangerous or harmful for the society but when the same gadget results in the degradation of the social values they become evils for the society. We as social animals and parents have observed how the small gadget called mobile has facilitated innocent children for telling lies, cheating the parents, concealing their identity and the place they talk from, becoming prey of bad company, chatting with unknown persons using filthy languages, watching nude video clips and makingfriends on the face book.Attending or giving telephone calls to the strangers in the bath rooms, in the balconies, or under the cover of quilt or blankets under the pretext of sleep have not only landed the children in trouble but have resulted into elopements where young boys and girls (even the minor school going ) run away from their homes without knowing anything about other they elope with. Especially the inter caste and inter religion elopements have resulted into class fighting and have created law and order problem in the past which has always disturbed the delicate fabric of the society and has proved detrimental for the peace and tranquility of the country.
Television is the enhancer of audiovisual flavour providing unnatural levels of sensory stimulations which compels even a crawling baby craning its neck towards glowing TV screen. Television, being the enormous powerful and influential entertainment industry, is becoming a major public health issue. Studies show that the prolonged exposure to television screen during early and later childhood is prone to attention and cognition problems sleep disturbances, accumulation of body fats, inactivity and communicative disorders. Television viewing among children less than three years of age is found to have negative effect on mathematical ability, reading recognition and comprehension in later childhood. Excessive television viewing in childhood and adolescence is associated with poor educational achievement by thirty years of age. The children, who have prolonged screen exposures, get less sleep than previous generations had and experience more sleeping difficulties. Excessive television viewing among the children and the adolescents is an independent contributing factor in obesity. A study shows that those children who watched more than two hours of television a day between ages of five and fifteen developed significant health risks many years later with 15 per cent of cases of raised blood cholesterol, 17 per cent obesity, 17 per cent of smoking and 15 percent of reduced cardiovascular fitness.
The children especially from the educated and financially sound families are becoming addicted to the video games played on iPods, mobiles and computers. They usually fall prey to mood swings, diminished imagination and hyper focus on in-game achievements to the exclusion of other real life events and social isolation. The excessive use of video games makes the child addicted because these games have inbuilt reward and reinforcement mechanism which makes the child more concerned with their interaction with games than in real life. The children while playing the video games often skip their meals and neglect personal hygiene, gain or lose weight and suffer from sleep deprivation. The continuous use of earphones for listening mobile music during work, exercise, driving and travelling affects the auditory nervous which can lead to either deafness or permanent hearing disorders because of loud sound not fit for the human ears because human inner ear is more vulnerable to loud sounds.
The technology has lot of positive attributes. The problem is they also have extremely negative effects on kids. The parents should be ever vigilant of what their children are doing with their technology. It should be born in mind by all the parents that the children under the age of two should not watch TV or any form of screen entertainment at all and also the children of all ages should not have television in their bed rooms. The parents of the young children should emphasise upon their children for the sparing use of mobiles . They must monitor the incoming and outgoing calls from the mobiles of their children daily otherwise the daily report books of the police stations will have reports about elopements and elopements only.

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