Excessive use of mobile phone taking toll on children


By Rokshana Yesmin

DHAKA, Aug 20, 2018 (BSS/UNICEF FEATURE)) – Five-year-old Zara, daughter of
Nazrul Islam who is a resident of old part of the capital, is now using
spectacles having -3.5 power as an eye specialist told her parents that the
girl must always use the eyeglasses to protect her eyesight.

Zara’s mother Jhorna Begum’s voice choked with emotion as she said, “My
daughter has been playing games on smart phones since her two and a half
years age. A few days ago, she told me that she could not see TV properly. We
also saw dark marks under her eye lines.”

Quoting the eye specialist, she said random usage of mobile phone is
responsible for her poor eye sight. Too much use of phone is also causing
burning and itching in her daughter’s eyes.

A new study carried out by scientists at Charotar University revealed that
use of mobile phone increases the possibility of developing cataract among
children. Besides, it also affects retina, cornea and other ocular system of
a child’s eye.

Abdul Barek, father of 16-year-old Mehidi Hasan, said, “Recently I came to
know that my son steals money from his mother’s purse to recharge his mobile
phone after being annoyed as I stopped providing him pocket money since he
failed in the SSC examinations.”

“It is my fault that I bought a mobile phone for him when he was an
eighth-grade student. I thought that it may help him in his study, but that
did not happen, instead he failed in his examinations,” said Barek who
resides in Fatullah area of Narayanganj district.

“He does not communicate with us rather he prefers to browse in his mobile
phone all the time. I do not know what to do,” he lamented.

Though there are lots of benefits in using smart phones, but every
technological advancement that provides such dramatic benefit also has awful

In Bangladesh, about 13 crore out of 17 crore people are using mobile
phone as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is pledge-bound to establish the
country as Digital Bangladesh.

Sayeda Yasmin, a teacher of Little Jewel School, told that sometimes kids
bring phones to school and get engaged with their phones even in presence of
teachers in the classrooms.

“Kids become less interested in doing homework’s and their exam results
suffer due to poor preparation or fatigues that develop due to excessive use
of smart phones,” she added.

Umme Kawser, a psychotherapist and teacher of Clinical Psychology
department of Dhaka University told that as mobile phones are keeping the
brain busy, kids tend to be more annoying. They become more violent and feel
irritated to communicate with their parents.

“The worst case is that children stop communicating with the family members
all together. Some children are so much obsessed with their smart phones that
they always check for messages and become irritated if they are asked to keep
their phones away for a while,” she added.

Citing a study, she said too much internet use might not be the reason of
anxiety or depression. But certainly it is a symptom of depression.

Dr Soyeb, child specialist of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College, said
today’s children are growing up in a radio-frequency environment which can
bring deadly consequences for them as the radiation emitted by smart phones
can have adverse effects on children.

Children’s brains have thinner skin, tissues, and bones that allow them to
absorb the radiation twice than that of the grown-ups. Their developing
nervous system makes them more vulnerable, he said, adding kids who use smart
phones experience more sleeping disruption, restlessness and fatigue than
children who have limited access to cell phones.

He also put some suggestions to reduce the negative impacts of smart
phones which includes – using speakerphone or keeping the phone away from
head during talk time, not letting children to carry the mobile phones to
school, not leaving mobile phones in children’s bedroom at night and managing
screen time to prevent them from getting addicted to smart phones.