I remember when we were growing up, we’d play with tin cans, connect them with a string and pretend they were phones.Today mobile phones, better known as cellphones in South Africa (SA), have become ubiquitous everywhere you go, even children as young as five years old have their own cellphones (this does not only happen in SA only but in many other countries).A company in England is even targeting toddlers with a phone designed in the shape of a teddy bear. And this creates more of an “addiction” from a young age.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), three-quarters of Australian children aged 12 to 14 own a cellphone but by the time they are 15 that number surges to 90 per cent. In Spain a media report recently spoke of a case where two children, age 12 and 13, were admitted into a mental health institution.

The ACMA concluded by saying that these children could not carry out normal activities without their cellphones, they tend to lie to their parents and relatives to get money to spend on their phones.

In Japan, the government is currently asking phone manufacturers to develop phones that are only used for talking. This is because Japanese youngsters are committing cyberspace crimes and spending hours exchanging mobile e-mails. Most phones in Japan offer high-speed Internet access.Things have gone so bad that the government is starting a program where they are warning parents and schools to limit their use among children.

Dr Jose Martinez-Raga, an expert in addictions, said children who developed a dependency on cellphones, like those who over-used video games, often became irritable, withdrawn and antisocial, and their school performance deteriorates. But children are not the only ones having addiction issues.

cellphone addiction

The Flip side

On the other side of the coin, most parents would say knowing where their children are is an advantage because they can just pick the phone and contact them.

The parents believe that the safety and security of their children is ensured by the cellphone. Their other reason perhaps may be that a cellphone gives children independence.

I’m sure this is great for mobile corporations in terms of sales but this trend has the potential to give brain cancer  because according to Research from the World Health Organisation and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency states that cellphones link to brain tumors.

This research center further says that thinner skulls and smaller brains put children at a greater risk.

I do think cellphones are important because most people have interaction through internet access and there’s a majority of people in the developing countries can not afford PCs. Cellphones are an affordable way to stay in touch with relatives, check friends on social network systems etc. Although cellphones are a great communication tool, it is creating major disorders, one of them being cellphone addiction.

The question I want to pose is, are certain companies thinking about what the consequences of ‘getting-them-while-they’re-young’ model is causing? I think there signals of distress out there and cellphones could be a danger in the future. Look at the video entitled “Why are mobile phones addictive“, to avoid cellphone addiction.  Futureye signing off.

Related links on mobile phone addiction:

Last updated and correction made on 27th May 2009.

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Comments
  1. SP says:

    I concur, but also believe that it’s up to the individual to use the devices responsibly. With freedom comes responsibility, so people need to be moderate in their usage of cellphones or live with the consequences of high cellphone usage.

    • futureye says:

      Thank SP for taking the time to read Futureye’s blog. You’re right responsibilty lies with the individual but more often than not most individuals just get inticed with whatever products are out there and the dangers that come along with those products or devices are often not spoken about. I try to voice out what most people won’t.

  2. tallyunlikely says:

    Wow those are some scary stats! I should do something on cellphones in my blog at some stage. Eish so much to cover…

    Love the picture by the way. I know a few mxit addicts who should look like that!

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