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The Impact of Cell Phones on Life

I came across this video on Facebook this morning and wanted to share it with all of my blog readers.

It is NOT a “bash the Millennials” video.  If anything, it serves as a reproach to the generation that raised them.  Instead it is a discussion of how several factors, including technology (especially cell phones and social media) have impacted the Millennial generation in terms of happiness, relationships, and job satisfaction.

Watch it, now, and then read on.

The impact of technology on mental health is becoming more and more apparent.  Consider the impact that this gentleman was discussing in terms depression and happiness.  Then, look at the new reports that reveal that suicide rates since 1999 have increased by 30% in America.

30%!!!!

Not surprisingly, this time period also saw the rise in personal technology and communications, from the early days of AOL Instant Messenger to today’s numerous social media apps.  In fact, studies are linking the rise in teen depression and suicide to the rise of smart phone use, as discussed here.

One of the most important points that this gentleman makes is that we do not have age limits on technologies that are doing the exact same things to our brains that alcohol, nicotine, and drugs do.

This is why my guidelines for phones and persona tech are:

If children MUST have a phone (and there are valid reasons why they may) then only give them a phone, not a mobile computer.  There are still flip-phones for sale.  If a child does have have a smart phone parents should  disable/delete social media and web access.  No, the child won’t like it, but that’s parenting….

It is crucial to set strong boundaries as to when and where phones/tablets may be used by children and youth!  Consider these rules in the home:

  • For elementary age children, only allow them access to the phone/tablet WHEN THEY NEED IT, such as when they are away from home/family.  This age group should not carry a phone around like a wallet, 24/7.  Nothing should be distracting them from typical non-electronic play and activities (This applies to game systems as well.)
  • For middle school age children, set specific time limits and other controls on the phones, forcing them to have to interact in person, rather than through social media and chat.
  • High school students should have broader time limits, but should still have controls that limit access to social media and inappropriate content.
  • All phones (including Mom’s and Dad’s) should be charged in a central location, not in bedrooms.
  • If you feel that you need a phone in your bedroom for emergencies, get a “regular” phone.  Such service may be part of your cable bundle, anyway.

Sit down to discuss why these rules are important with your spouse/co-parent, and with your children.

We’ll talk more about this  in 2019, but keep this in mind as you plan your Christmas giving to your children.

And remember the Jurassic Park Rule:

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”

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