Should children do away with mobile phones?

Should children do away with mobile phones

Should children do away with mobile phones?

Excited students were chattering and cheering constantly as the bell rang to welcome them back to school.

Ajay and Ansh of class X were so excited to return to school as now the two brothers don’t have to juggle their class schedules   owing to one phone for their online classes.

Reena missed her school, teachers and friends. She was bored at home and she couldn’t study this way

Parents, also gleeful, lined outside the school clicking pictures as their kids returned to school after months.

As the school reopened with full gusto and zeal for physical classes, the journey of mobile classrooms seemed to be losing its sheen. If educational institutions were prompt to respond to the lockdown to continue learning, once again it has come together to refurbish the system in consonance with the new norms to re-kindle the face to face learning process in the post pandemic times.  But can we play down the unparalleled power of change that mobiles unleashed during the rise of the pandemic. The pigmy yet powerful device has become reflections of our personalities today.  With unlimited treasure house of audio books, music compositions, lectures, experiments, live -demonstrations, assignments, digital platforms to showcase talents and what not, these angelic devices kept up the momentum of learning across the globe in the challenging times. They made learning fluid, ‘mobile’ and reachable even to ‘the remotely unreachable’ and we can now learn virtually anything, anywhere and anytime.  Thus they became not only the new digital hub, but also the bridge to the physical world.

Today while working on to identify and plug learning gaps, most edu-leaders are on a sticky wicket on the issue that should children continue with mobile phones or be stripped off the ownership of using it freely.  Over the one and half years, children have spent exorbitant time on a mobile phone for attending virtual classes or doing other compulsive classroom tasks. WhatsApp was used near universally to share content and assignments. Live classes through various video conferencing platforms reached the crescendo during the surge. It is on mobile they shared their emotions of fear, joy, excitement or dejection sitting at their longitudes and latitudes. The potential of addiction immensely rose up, and so was their dependency on the gadget. Today, it looks difficult to them losing out the life they were living virtually. Keeping them off mobile phones suddenly could be a tough transition for them. The very idea of snatching the mobile suddenly could make them uncomfortable or even aggressive. They may get into the habit of sneakily using devices at the places other than homes. So the change will have to be brought in steadily. A screen-free life is beyond imagination in the present times, however we also understand prolonged gazing at smartphone displays and tablet computers, strains the eyes, especially those of growing children leading to early myopia. Also 24-hours connect is afflicting them with anxiety, stress and depression. They constantly check their phone. If they’re not getting an email, they are on the social media up, or they’re checking a news feed, or a sports score or playing digital games or listening to music leaving hardly space and life for more meaningful activities.

Owning a cell phone is a privilege as well as a responsibility, and allowing your child to have one means you trust he is responsible enough to use it appropriately. He knows how to handle cyberbullying and other online safety issues.  He respects the bounds we put on the use of phone. The importance of learning the life skill to engage with cell phones appropriately cannot be overlooked.

Creating a mobile free zone or practising mobile free time at home can go a long way in saving them from becoming cyber zombies as it would spout warmth in their hearts keeping alive the feeling of togetherness, family-fun, caring and sharing of a real world rather than immersing in ever coldness of huddling over the phones in their own virtual world.

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