Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mobile Bullying and kids

Bullying has just become of the most underrated but enduring problems today. Kids & Teenagers use the mobiles and the net and because there's the whole world of fun using these gadgets. It's the need of the hour to stop the Bully Panic. Especially Mobile Bully. I have mentioned of Bullying (an article from my book 'Guardian of Angels) and even blogged about Mobile Manners.

However, the issue surfaces concerns once again as a recent study by the Pew Internet Research Center states that 72% of cellphone owners ages 12 to 17 are texters while only 18% of cellphone owners ages 40 to 49 are texters. Moreover, for tweens and teens, cellphones are the perfect tool for being constantly connected to the friends and others. As a result, texting use has drastically increased. It is noted by Nielsen Mobile that three years ago a teen sent and received an average of 435 texts per month. As of late 2009 that total jumped to 3,186 texts. Social networking has made it easier for exchange of phone numbers and predators who seek close contacts with kids have found their prey. Cyberbullying, psychological harassment in text or instant messaging, is more often perpetrated by girls, who initiate inappropriate messages or spread damaging gossip. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 39 percent of cell users ages 18-29 say they are not always truthful about where they are when they are on the phone. Many parents find it shocking when the bill knocks the door due to texting (text, picture and video messaging), special ring tones, downloading games and even chatting for long hours. An alarming case is reported at Forbes - A 15 year old boy communicating to a 30 year old woman whom he met while playing multi game of World of War Craft.

Cell phones have become a serious cause for lack of concentration, distraction, anxiety, fear and misuse among many school going children. Moreover, the common features of cameras, ipod music, games and video are temptations for use and misuse. The silent mode has easy texting anywhere. Mobile manners are almost being missed out by not only children who use it but also parents and teachers who fail to keep a check on their attitude and courtesy mannerisms. Fiddling with the mobile, texting or playing games is often a sign of bad manners when you are with others - socialising, in a meeting or with a guest. Kids who are often tempted with their parent's mobile, are found to be bad mannered. Many teenagers opt for talking or texting even in front of guests which embarrass the parents.

Though schools like CBSE and other schools are opting for ban of using mobiles when in school campus, it is the need of the hour to safeguard children from Mobile Bullying and even protect them from the Health hazards.

An Austria Dr. Eric Huber calls for the potential dangers in kids using mobiles and calls for Mobile companies carrying labels showing Radiation levels. It is recommended, children below 16 years should not use mobiles. Brain tumour could be extreme case with vision problems too. However, this would not stop children from using nor will the parents want the children to be away from the latest technology and gadgets that surround our world. As Dr. Michael Rich, Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard University believes, We have basically let kids be in an environment where they have free rein but don't have the brain development to manage that in ways that are safe and healthy.

The child should know, it's a use of mobile phone only in time of special/urgent needs only. Best is no mobile till the age of 16 and don't let them get attracted for the fancy picks. All things come for a value. Children need to understand this and not keep changing the gadgets that keep freaking in the market.

Some things children using mobiles should know:

1. Protect the mobile numbers. The child should not give the number to everyone. Do not let others see the number too.
2. The child should not respond to unwanted SMS or call back to strangers who sms or ring up.
3. The child should not give any information to any caller unless he/she knows the person well.
4. Set rules and responsibilities. Don't let your call go unanswerable from the child.
5. Strictly make the children turn off their phones at night when they are in their rooms.
6. Teach them value for money. Provide the mobile that best utility for them keeping in mind the cost factor. Do not pamper them and allow them to frequently change their gadgets too.
7. Why Cell Phone - Explain the use and why they are equipped with such gadgets.

Give kids their free reins but Limit the use of the Gadget. Teach them to use and make them understand the right and the wrong. There's no denying that we live in a dangerous world and that children are overwhelmingly important. A day when our mobiles go off even for a while, we are used to adjust but the next generation is out with the newer technology and its safety more a concern for them right now. Protect kids from the dangers using mobiles.

-More on Bullying.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

No comments: