The six or more hours spent by most teenagers while using and staring at screens mostly of smartphones are making parents very worried. This is made worse by the research that shows that the chances of teens who spend more than two hours on these screens of contemplating suicide increases by up to 71%.
The use of digital media has been associated with unhappiness as well as cases of depression. Cotrary to the common belief, the use of digital media actually makes users less happy.
What Steve Job told a reporter in 2010 concerning prohibition of kids from using iPads and restriction of the screen time was actually not true. There has been an outcry for the companies that have ushered us into the digital age to take measures aimed at protecting the kids from excessive phone use. This can go a long way in improving the image and the general well-being of these companies.
The issue of concern is that these companies should find a way of limiting the use of these devices. Eliminating their use completely is not prudent. This is because there is a research that has shown that teens that have controlled use of these devices are happier than those who do not use them at all. It is only when they are used for more than two hours in a day that the concern of depression and suicide come in.
Striking the balance between children and technology.
There is a need for a new parenting style that creates a better relationship between children and parents as well as the relationship between children and technology.
The most practical solution is to have devices with a restriction on the number of hours they can be used and which areas they are put to use. This has worked for iPad. Those who make these phones should not be worried about profits since they earn as soon as the device is bought and the restriction of the number of hours of use may not affect their revenue.
Given the addictive nature of digital media, it may be difficult for most teens to restrict the use for two hours or less. Most of the leisure time may be spent with these devices, increasing the risk of these kids of developing mental health complications.
Applications like kidslox may also assist parents in restricting phone use. However, their long setup procedures, exorbitant fees and the fact that kids may manipulate them make them less practical to use.
How effective can having screen-time limit in iPhones be?
Such a restriction can enable parents limit the time spent on the phone, only allow use of specific applications, switch the phone off at night and allow communication with specific contacts only depending on the age of the child. The restrictions can be be relaxed a the child grows older.
This may be very beneficial to Apple given that parents would be more willing to purchase smartphones for their kids with guaranteed safety. Parents find it difficult to give children phones if it can end up causing family conflicts.
Social media sites such as Facebook also have a part to play. They, however, find it difficult to get the right balance given that the revenue they generate depends on time spent using them.
For Apple, however, the safer the devices are for use by teens, the more revenue they are likely to generate. They, therefore, need to give parents more alternatives