The Problem With Phones


Jack McCarthy

Ah, phones: The thing everyone has and needs. It allows us to communicate with one another, play games, watch videos– you name it! As a matter of fact, 95% of Americans have a cellphone of some sort, with 85% having a smartphone. But… nothing is perfect, and the phone is no perfect product. It has problems, problems that unfortunately cause many problems in our everyday lives. 

Now don’t get me wrong, phones are useful if you ignore the problems. Don’t be surprised to hear that even I have a phone. But when I look deeper into it, I start to see its problems. Addiction, false information, detachment from reality, and behavior change. Now all this might seem false to you, but I’ll get to them.

Let me tell you a fact that not many know about. Most kids aren’t raised by parents, they’re raised by technology. Now what do I mean by that? How much do you wanna bet, that any place you go to, you’ll see a child, like 5 (in some rare occasions) or older, on an electronic or something, while their parents just drag them around? Kids are not raised by their parents, if they’re parents barely watch them. To ignore the stress of taking care of a child and get done with work and such, parents give their children an iPad and watch videos. Teens are given phones for the same reasons, but to also make sure parents stay in contact with their children. As a result, parents are allowing their children to enter what I would call a wasteful land. This can turn into an addiction for children refusing to get off technology, and not knowing when to get off their electronics. We are all explorers, willing to explore the unknown and open ourselves to new fields of knowledge.

Are the Kids Alright?

Children will go on their iPads or iPhones, go on YouTube and search their favorite show to watch clips of them. But chances are, they might become addicted to something else other than those shows. You’ve probably heard of Kinder Surprise Eggs or whatever they’re called. On YouTube, there are more than 10-14 million of these videos, all of which include some of children’s favorite TV shows. And the sad part is that those videos keep increasing every day. Essentially, this is poison to kids, and parents and children don’t know it.

However, the egg videos are not the only virulent videos that prey on kids, there are many many more videos that are far worse than those. As mentioned earlier, everyone is an explorer, and as for children watching videos, they are open to whatever video plays next thanks to the autoplay button on the top of a computer or IPad screen. Sometimes the videos they transition to are horrifying. You could go from a video of a clip from a children’s tv show, to something horrifying that I sure as heck won’t mention. So how can something like this be solved? How can parents prevent their children from being scarred for life from inappropriate videos that are falsely deemed kid friendly? You’d be surprised, because it’s relatively simple and easy. Just don’t give children any form of technology. Just give them something simpler, like a toy. They’ll surely be more entertained than videos on an iPad or phone.

And How About Teens?

Now that we have looked at the youngsters and toddlers, let’s look at the older ones: the tweens, teens, and adults. They’re a whole other story, as the way they are affected have the most devastating and painful effects. Now there are multiple reasons teens use social media. Some use it to escape from the real world. Some people use it to spread their presence and to fulfill their desire to grow their social influence. Some use it in fear of missing out on the latest news and trends. But the consequences of exploring social media are horrifying. Side effects include distraction (which is because of the fear of “missing out”), sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and addiction. Now while these sound common and not too bad, they’re actually far worse.

When a teen goes on social media, they might encounter a form of bullying or harassment when they post something that’s a little personal, which can cause depression and low-self esteem. Depression and loneliness can all lead to suicide, which is a common death for most teens. And because of a teen’s impulsive behavior, which in turn causes addiction, it’s hard to get a teen off their phone and get them to socialize. Unfortunately, the use of social media and social platforms is increasing every day, with it increasing dramatically during Covid-lockdown. So how can we help prevent teenagers from being profanely affected by social media? We can put limits on the amount of screen time teenagers use and tell them when to take a break. We can talk to them about social media and tell them what is and not ok. These are just some of the ways we can help teenagers get off their phones, socialize more, and improve their mental state.

Technology shapes the children who are given this stuff into the people who they are today, depressed, and anxious people who have a hard time socializing with other people, while their parents sit back and let their kids fall apart. But we can help them. We can help them by helping them to socialize, interact more and help them have a better mental state. But don’t be cruel and just destroy their technology completely. Instead, try limiting their screen time and interact with them! You won’t only be helping them, but you will also be helping yourself to know your child better.