Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Understanding Excessive Smartphone Use Effects As UK Bans Phones In Schools


The UK government plans to ban mobile phones in English schools, as announced by the Department for Education, as a way to cut down on distractions and better the school environment. According to Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, this policy will help “empower” schools that have not fully implemented a ban yet.

She said, “You don’t go to sit on your mobile phone or to send messages whilst you could actually talk to somebody.” This guidance, though not statutory, suggests various methods for schools to enforce the ban, from leaving phones at home to collecting them at the start of the day.

 

What Are The Effects Of Excessive Smartphone Use With Teens?

 

Impulsive and Risky Behaviour

Increased phone usage is linked to impulsive and risky behavior among teens. The instant gratification provided by social media and games can lead to poor decision-making and engagement in harmful activities.

 

Cyberbullying Exposure

Heavy smartphone and social media usage among teens and kids opens them up to cyberbullying, which can really damage their mental health. The ability to hide behind screens and the broad reach of these platforms contribute to making victims feel defenseless and secluded.
 

Mental Health Decline

Teens spending too much time on smartphones can have a negative impact on their mental health. There has been a strong link reported across studies and health professionals, between smartphone use and increased levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.

 

 

Altered Brain Development

Many different studies suggest that excessive smartphone use can alter brain development in young users. Changes in the brain’s gray matter volume, particularly in areas related to attention, emotional regulation, and decision-making, have been observed.

 

Sleep Disruption

Another consequence of excessive phone use is the disruption of sleep patterns. Teens who spend more time on their phones, especially before bedtime, experience difficulties falling asleep, reduced sleep quality, and sleep duration.

 

Physical Health Issues

Lastly, the physical health of teens and kids is at risk due to excessive phone use. From eye strain and headaches to neck pain and reduced physical activity, the repercussions are manifold.

 

How To Manage Excessive Phone Use With Teens

 

Clearly Communicate The Effects

In most cases, the best first step to help younger ones is to effectively communicate the effects. Perhaps some are not fully aware of the long and short term effects of excessive phone use, and so hearing it from a trusted person could open their eyes up to these dangers.

 

Limit Screen Time

Like the UK government is doing in schools, guardians should ensure teens have a capped screen time rate everyday. This can help teens live a life where they are actively participating in the physical world around us.

 

Encourage Reward Systems

For those who do not necessarily want to take their phones from their children or enforce hard rules, create a reward system that encourages teens to spend less time on their devices. This could be something like allowing them to have their favourite ice-cream after dinner, or even making a gamified chart that gets teens to record and track their daily screen time as a daily activity. Their awareness on how much time they spend scrolling may bring them to the realisation that phone use needs to be cut down.

 

Introduce Alternative Activities

Teens taking part in activities that encourage them to stay off their phones can be a good way to manage the phone use. Encouraging teens to play sports, or to learn an instrument, can supplement the time that was previously allocated to being on social media. At night, you could introduce different small activities that you and the teen can partake in that would still be entertaining for them.

 

Normalise Therapy And Wellness Solutions

Whether its going to a therapist or finding useful and reliable mental health facilities, in the case where a teen may be addicted to their phones, it may be wise to receive professional guidance. Any addiction has a root cause, and that is where professionals come in. The excessive phone use is merely a symptom towards an underlying issue in most cases.



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