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Just take the Smartphone from teens and children

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth…Psalm 104:14

I really like this article by Family psychologist John Rosemond that was published in newspapers across our land. This article reflects some of my sentiments on the Smartphone issue. Many parents are now telling of the addictions of their children to these phones. Please consider the following commentary:

As regular readers of this column already know, I am completely, 100 percent opposed to children, including teenagers still living at home, being in possession of Smartphones. No parent has ever been able to give me a logical reason why a minor should enjoy such privilege, if enjoy is even the proper word. The most common rationale given is “I want my child to be able to get in touch with me and vice versa.” If that is your best defense, purchase a basic cellphone from a box store and give it to your child on selective occasions. I’m referring to the sort of cellphone you possessed, as an adult 10 years ago; one that will not connect to the internet, does not have a built-in camera and is not text-friendly.

The evidence is mounting that for whatever reasons, most likely having to do with brain development during said years, Smartphones are literally addictive to children and teenagers. The exception to the child/teen whose attention is disproportionately captured by Smartphone’s screen is rare. “But John, that is how teenagers communicate with one another: is a common parental defense to which I respond, “Yes, and that is why their face-to-face communication skills are generally poor to awful.” Their eye contact is notoriously bad and when, in a face-to-face encounter, they begin feeling uncomfortable (which is often), what do they do? They pull out their Smartphone and begin looking at it while you are talking to them! I conclude that these devices interfere with the development of proper social skills. There is a reason why employers are increasingly identifying the social and conversational skills of job applicants as more important than college grades.

I’ve recently spoken with a handful of parents who have taken their kids’ Smartphones for good. They have all testified to the sort of reaction typical of withdrawal from an addiction: tantrums, even rages, mood swings and near-manic obsession. It takes two weeks, at least, for the addiction to run its course at which time, according to said parents, their children’s moods greatly improve. They begin engaging in family conversation and family activities, demonstrate renewed sensitivity to other people’s feelings and seem generally more relaxed. As yet, no parent has reported a downside. One teenage boy eventually thanked his parents, telling them he felt a whole lot better without a Smartphone. Yes, a normal childhood is a wonderful thing. Every child’s right, in fact. Where’s your common sense these days? Until next time!

Alice Russell, also known as “Me Me,” is a guest columnist who resides in the Randolph/ Saxe area. She can be reached at letstalkherb@gmail.com.

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