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The Mobile Epidemic

TIMES have indeed changed. New technology has certainly transformed our lifestyle, not only for us "grown-ups" but also for today's youngsters. A recent research commissioned by the UK department of Health and conducted by Sheffield Hallam University reveals that an alarming number of children are becoming increasingly dependant on the mobile phone. Studies show that of the 1,000 children surveyed nine out of 10 owned a mobile and used it for more than 45 minutes a day!

Undoubtedly mobiles have become cheaper to buy and maintain. They've also become a stylish accessory. A phone to match your every outfit? We as adults can't escape the barrage of advertising that accompanies today's new technology. Our children are no exception. If we can learn to admit to our own vulnerabilities, we might be better able to deal with those of our children's. Aside from turning them into techno junkies, what kind of an example are we setting? Technology isn't bad by any means but once it's misused, Big Brother prevails.

Mobile, a wonderful invention
I'm sure everyone will agree with me when I say that the mobile is a wonderful invention and when sensibly used, it is indispensable. Imagine having to find a public phone if your car breaks down on a motorway. Unthinkable! Whilst I agree that the mobile has become an inevitable part of our lives, at the risk of sounding anti-new technology, I have to ask - how on earth did this innocent-looking and useful gadget become so addictive? After all, it's not a cigarette.

To stick with that comparison. If someone were to develop cancer as a result of years of heavy smoking, the tobacco companies would be the first to be blamed. But can the same principle be applied to car or mobile phone manufacturers? Are they really to blame or are we in such denial of our own responsibilities that we cannot see the woods for the trees? For instance you get into your car and drive yourself safely from A to B but if either you or the car manufacturer is careless in any way it can be a potentially dangerous piece of machinery.

Use your mobile sensibly and only when you have to
How does this all relate to mobiles, you ask? Well, mobiles are not potentially dangerous in themselves, provided, like the car, they're used sensibly. But like the cigarette, there are hazards associated with its use. And like the cigarette manufacturer, mobile phone manufacturers are being increasingly criticised, and I think unfairly, for the dangers associated with its misuse. So ask yourself one question. Why was the mobile invented? The answer may be obvious but it is its interpretation that is the root of the mobile epidemic. Yes, it was to facilitate quick and easy communication. But, and this is the crux of the problem, it was never intended to be used for long periods at a time. I too own one therefore I'm not anti-mobile. In fact mine has proven its worth on many occasions. But unlike some of my siblings, I only use it when I absolutely have to. I believe the mobile was only intended for that emergency call, not to have that long, drawn out conversation about what I had for lunch that afternoon. But that's exactly what many users are doing. And unfortunately this bad habit has infiltrated the next generation.

Set an example to your children
Children are very quick to imitate their elders and peers. If they see an adult doing something they will invariably want to do it too. Especially if it looks flashy. As responsible adults, we need to ensure that our children pick up the right messages. A father on a mobile to a friend or colleague for long stretches is not the right message to send. Back in the late 70s and early 80s it was not unusual for parents to smoke in front of their children. That is until the dangers of passive smoking came to light.

Before buying a mobile for your kid, think twice

So before buying your child that mobile, think about its effects on his health and the people around him. Remember the medics claim harmful waves emitted by mobiles have a far greater impact on a child's brain than they do on an adults. And ask yourself - does he need one? Can I control who he talks to or the length of time he spends on it? Is he likely to keep it on during class? Every parent, understandably, thinks his child is responsible but from 9-5 they really have no control over his activities. Don't leave it entirely to the teachers That is unacceptable and impractical.
Article by Birjees Sarwat Hussain
Courtesy: Gulf Today

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