Dr Hisao Ishii of Japan conducted a very interesting study about cellphone addition among teenagers. “Teenagers can be seen taking advantage of every spare minute to touch base with their friends,” he said, adding that the addiction of children to their mobile phones can threaten the very fabric of society. Although his study was based on children in Japan, the same trends apply in Kuwait and many countries around the world. Teenagers’ habits are nearly similar everywhere.
Go to any cafe or mall here and you will not find a single boy or a girl without a mobile. It also takes me by surprise that most of them hold their mobile in their hands as if it is their only link to stay connected and be accepted in the social circle of their friends! Dr Ishii’s research warned: “Genuine conversation will be driven out by superficial communication, leading to deterioration in the quality of relationships. Indeed, the very fabric of society may be threatened.”
Teenagers today are shaping relations with the power of the mobile and its apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. So, when they meet someone for the first time, they start checking how active he/she is on social media, and of course the number of their followers, and want to stay in touch several times a day. Teenagers are spending too much time on their mobiles, exchanging text messages rather than direct and physical contacts.
Although the study focused on teenagers, many people are now addicted to their mobiles for different reasons. Some are using social media to make a living, like selling food and clothes. Some are young people who are also addicted to their mobiles because they want to stay connected with their friends, chat, read the latest news, play games and pass the time gossiping.
Texting and driving is another matter of concern, and it is common to see young people do this in the middle of the road. Social media has turned stupid and uneducated people into rich and popular figures around the world. There is a threat of presenting wrong models to young people – like a Ms X who never made it through school, but has made more money than what an educated person can make in his/her lifetime!
Sociologists have warned that the popularity of emailing and playing games on mobile phones is affecting other important activities such as recreational reading and studying. I fully agree. Even with all reports warning about the negative impacts of mobiles on teenagers’ behaviors and ties with family and friends, many kids take their mobiles with them to school. Some schools manage to take the mobiles from their students, but not all schools do so. This issue needs to be taken into consideration by specialists. If this addiction cannot be controlled, at least let’s be ready for what to do next.
By Muna Al-Fuzai