Smart phone is becoming more and more popular nowadays as its user-friendly design and convenient multi-function. Nearly all people, including elderly and children, in Hong Kong have their own smartphone. Nevertheless, should smartphone been owned by a young child? Since smartphone brings lots of negative effect to children on learning, social and health, the children should not be allowed to own a smartphone.
Schools have noticed that phones take their attention away from their lessons and destroy discipline for a long time. To solve the problem, lots of secondary and primary schools are not allowed their students to bring phone to school. Students who bring their phone to school violate the school regulation and their phones will be confiscated by the teacher. This rule does not only focus on smartphone as it has been set for a long time, and there were not smartphone when the rule set. Smartphone has much more functions and applications which lead to a bigger influence on students’ concentration on study. However, this solution cannot solve the problem successfully as people have different opinions on it and thus is difficult to implement.
Oppose arguing that smartphone secure the safety of children
Some parents have different opinions from school. They are opposed to the banning. They think that owning a mobile phone keeps children safer as they could know where their children are through calls, texts as well as communicating and Global Position System (GPS) applications and be sure if their children are safe. Also, in an emergency, children can call for a help quickly and easily. Indeed, owning a smartphone does not keep children safe but put them into an unsafe situation as they are carrying an expensive fashionable device which makes them a target of criminals. About millions of people are robbed of cell phone every year while some of the cases involved violence. Furthermore, many children spend so much time talking on the phone, texting with friends or playing games, and thus do not aware what is going on around them. It is supposed that children cause car accidents every year because their attention was on their phone activities but not the traffic while crossing the street. Indeed, this situation should not occur as it is supposed that children below 16 are always accompanied with adults. The law in Hong Kong has ruled that parent should not leave their children alone as this action may leads to injury to the child. Besides, parents and may have to face criminal liability arising from negligence in care.  (Press Releases, 2012) Parents can check the children’s situation by calling to the carer to secure their child’s safety when they are not accompanying them. Thus, it is unnecessary for children to own a smartphone.
Oppose arguing that smartphone helps student on learning
Beside from the safety reason, the helpfulness on learning of smartphone may be the second reason to oppose the banning measure. Since schools nowadays are encouraging liberal learning, students are required to search lots of information themselves. Smartphone is a suitable and useful tool to assist students to achieve the liberal learning and broaden their horizon. It is much more convenient for the student to search for information which is related to their study and helpful for them to take photos and videos to records any new discovery at any time and in any new place. Take for an example, according to a teacher from a primary school in United States “We have seen an increase in ‘time on task’ in our fifth-grade students. Students who would normally write a few words or a sentence on paper are now writing paragraphs and beyond on their smartphones.” (Dickerson & Schad, 2012) This shows that this electronic device does give a great help to students on this case, nevertheless such benefit can also be achieved by an e-book and a digital camera. Smartphone is useful but not the only tool on assisting student learning.
Reason of banning student to bring phone to school
Moreover, student will be addicted to smartphones not for learning purpose but for playing games, chatting as well as checking the new status of their friends on facebook. From the survey conducted by Time magazine “84 percent of respondents said that they could not go a single day without their cellphones, and 20 percent of respondents check their phone every 10 minutes as well as 24 percent said they had used text messages to set up a rendezvous with someone they were having an affair with, a number that includes 56 percent of Chinese respondents.” (Gilbert, 2012) From the statistic the result that student’s negligence on their study is foreseeable as their concentration will be putted on the smartphone activities if they are allowed to have their own smartphone.
Proposed solution on decreasing the influence of smartphone to children
Only by the effort from school to decrease the influence of smartphone to children is not enough as children can play smartphone in the non-schooling time. Thus, in order to solve the problem completely, it is proposed to the government that a legislation of banning children below 16 to own smartphone is needed. Smartphone is just as alcohol and drugs which is addictive and harms human body. Nevertheless, we always only enjoying the convenient bring to us but have ignored the negative aspect of smartphone. Smartphone dose bring lots of negative influence to children. A government authority has to be established to implement the ordinance as well, otherwise the legislation is meaningless. Government should also do advertisement to educate the public the proper use of smartphone and the consequence of addicted on smartphone. Parents also have their responsibility to protect the children by not giving their smartphone to their children to play. The corporation from government and parents is important on saving children from the harm of smartphone.
Opposes arguing that smartphone increase children’s interest on learning
Some people may oppose to this legislation as they think that smartphone dose let learning easier and interesting which are good to children development. The learning games, dictionary, language learning application and scientific calculator are helpful tools to assist children on learning. Children could find that learning is not such difficult with the assist of these user friendly learning applications. The MLDs  , an American company providing network service on personal and commercial use, is a good example on that. The MLDs is useful to link the home with the school in ways not possible before (Tomko, 2010). Student-to-student conversation can be increased by accessing information through MLDs. When problems arise, the students ask each other, not the teacher. Since their lessons are all on their MLDs, students are becoming more self-directed learners. Nevertheless, the MLDs network and other learning applications can also be accessed through I-pad or e-book, but not only smartphone. Thus, this cannot be a reason on rejecting the banning.
Smartphone is an obstacle on social skill development
Despite of the unnecessary of children to use smartphone, smartphone is an obstacle on developing children’s social skills. The social area of the children is bounded in the internet social website or social applications as a result of addicting the smartphone. They only communicate with friends through the smartphone but rarely have a face to face communication with the people surrounding. Many people must be in the odd atmosphere in which all the friends around are focusing on their smartphone playing games or whatsapping with their friend during a meal in the restaurant. People around the table are friends and having meal together, however no conversation between them. Growing up in such a non-face-to-face-communicating environment does hinder children’s social ability.
Health harm on children caused by using smartphone
The possible long-term health risks, such as behavioral problems on children, increased cancer risk as well as decreased male fertility, are another reason to ban children to use smartphone. The research led by Dr Siegal Sadetzki (2008), an epidemiologist at Gertner Institute, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Israel, found that “heavy cell phone users had a 50% higher risk of developing a parotid tumor which arise in the salivary gland near the ears and the jaw, a position where cellphones are typically held, and they can be malignant or benign. Because children’s brains and nervous systems are still developing, any possible damage to them is even more serious than for adults. The radio frequency emissions from the phones could cause other health issues in other parts of the body, such as the damage to the central nervous system, and thereby having a negative impact on learning or behavior, or cancers could result in organs other than the brain.  ” Recently, Dr Kheifets and researchers in Denmark (2008) discovered that “children who used cell phones and whose mothers had used cellphones during their pregnancy had 80% higher incidence of behavioral issues. These include emotional issues, hyperactivity, inattention and having problems with their peers. Even those children who themselves did not have cellphone exposure except during their mothers’ pregnancies had 54% higher incidence of such problems.” These studies have revealed the negative impact of cell phones on the health of children. This is a serious consequence and thus children should be banned to use smartphone in order to secure their health.
All in all, the harm brings from smartphone has long been a problem which be neglected. Government should legislate to ban the children below 16 owning smartphone as soon as possible in order to avoid children being affected or harmed by smartphone. Only avoiding children to be affected in school is not enough, government and parents have their responsibility on saving children from the harm of smartphone. Only by the corporation of school, government as well as parents can the problem be solved, and can the children have a better development.
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