Can Smartphones Make Kids or Teens Smarter?
WE all love our Smartphone like our family & friends. For some, a Smartphone is their only pal. If you are out, look around you. See how many people’s head are down looking into some device – feverishly tapping and scrolling. Theaters or malls or temples, we are affixed to the glowing orbs of the screens. Some of us watch great movies and concerts to put a Facebook status saying, “Look, I went to this awesome movie.” We are connected or plugged to the whole world, yet we are somehow alone. Smartphone are an unstoppable force in the teenage world. The hallways of schools and colleges are filled with pupils texting, listening music or playing games. Numerous researches are being carried out to prove that the cell phone radiations are disrupting the brain cells and DNA strands. But, let’s leave those intelligent inquires to the scientists. Let’s just ask ourselves, whether these devices are making us less self-reliant and dumber or else smarter?
Humanity has thrived centuries because of its constant reduction for individual dependence through technologies. We no more wash our clothes by hands or cultivate our foods. We are not relying on sun for directions, we have GPS for that. So, in that way Smartphone is an evolution, which promotes real time communication with someone from the other part of world. However, is this device for communication making us anti-social? We communicate through Facebook or twitter by avoiding face to face interaction. Many kids or teens don’t even have a clue how to talk in a face to face communication. The biggest accusation made on Smartphone is that it kills languages and grammar. Native languages are not only getting domineered by English, but that language is also getting ruined by this texting thing. Of course, pillow-sized dictionaries and encyclopedias aren’t necessary today for learning grammar or history, since we have everything inside the apps, but are the majority of teens getting enlightened by this? Leticia Barr who runs the website “Tech Savvy Mama” (a former teacher) has said, “I think at a certain age, apps can certainly reinforce educational learning in kids,” such as working on the alphabet or numbers. But it’s not a substitute for the parent or for reading.”
Most of the teenagers are wrecking their eyes and fingers and the excessive usage is also causing sleeping problems. In classrooms, they are huge distractions. However, some apps can definitely ease the back-to-school strain. Phones can’t replace the joy of hands-on approach of learning a new skill. It can’t be a substitute for exercise or meditation. Many young people fail to draw a distinction between professional and personal life. Frequent visits to social networking sites and mail-checking are eating up our family time. Sometimes a whole family is sitting on couch with each of them having a Smartphone in their hands, surfing through internet. So much for family bonding.
It is said that more than one million apps are downloaded for every 50 minutes. Some of the studies show that the euphoric response elicited in the minds of Smartphone users is something that is seen in the mind of a drug addict. I can’t confirm the authenticity of such studies, but this connectedness is really costing something. It is permeating through all the corners of our existence to distract us from the experiences of natural world. Smartphone are getting to be ubiquitous among teenagers and kids and its uses shouldn’t be overlooked. At the same time, they need to realize that the gadgets or devices don’t decide who we are and the glowing screens are definitely not the substitute for real world.