Technology has become an everyday part of most people’s lives and just like everything else, moderation is the key to utilizing technology, as too much of any one thing can create significant issues.
The Pew Research Center of Internet and Technology indicates that approximately 95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind. The interesting information collected by the research center revealed 100% of people ages 18-29 have a cell phone.
Cell phone technology is here to stay and always evolving. The question becomes, how do we keep up with the almost daily updates of cell phone use? Young people tend to have a jump on older adults in utilizing cell phones and the applications that are used by the Millennial generation. Although young people are masters at using cell phones, they don’t always understand the negative impacts of overuse and become dependent on cell phones for most of their communications. Older generations are constantly playing catch up and trying to understand cell phones and the technology that accompanies cell phone use. As a result, parents have greater difficulty in monitoring cell phone use of their children.
Just as television became a way for parents to keep their children busy while completing tasks, cell phones, computers, gaming systems and tablets are now the babysitters that keep children engaged while parents get things done.
I often think of emails for my generation. The main concern for people was the inability to hear tone or to be able to see body language which gives you a better indication of the message and how it was meant to be delivered. I think of the boss who would send an email indicating they wanted you to stop by their office before you leave for the day. The day became full of anxiety in wondering why the boss would want to see us. When we stopped by, they just wanted to let us know, our vacation request was approved. Wow, the day was filled with so much worry because we had no idea the tone behind the email. Now, we have younger people who primarily send text messages via cell phones, less maturity, less understanding, more anxiety and greater difficulty in deciphering the true message behind the text. This creates greater misunderstanding and less ability to resolve conflict or ability to deal with these issues in a more effective manner.
Think about this, most statistics indicate that young people between the ages of 18-24 send approximately 3800 text messages a month (Inc./Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick) and an April 2017 article indicates Millennials check their cell phones 150 times a day.
This gives us a lot to think about when we consider the impact of cell phones on our daily lives. Studies have shown that when you are engaged in your device it impacts the brains ability to create feelings of empathy. This could explain the increase in bullying and young people’s inability to understand others and be more focused on themselves.
I even talked with my chiropractor who told me they were seeing more young people around the age of 12 because of the position the head and neck are in while engaging their device.
We are also seeing connections between sleep disruptions, depression, vision problems as well as people experiencing more stress.
This does not even begin to address the security issues of cell phone use and private information.
The main thing to remember is everything in moderation. People need to make time to put their phones away and have face to face interactions with others, most importantly family. Dinner time is a great time to put away cell phones and check in with children. When at an event for your kids, let them know they are the most important being and that you plan to give them your undivided attention. Leave the phone in the car or at home. If someone really needs to get in touch with you, they will find a way, but we need to set the example of our priorities and moderation.
Don’t let the phone be the center of your life, if you can’t live without your phone for a day, maybe you need to see if you are addicted to your device.
Always monitor your children, there are many programs that can help monitor your child’s cell phone activity. Most carriers have paid plans you can purchase to better understand your child’s use. It is always good to see how much text messaging is being used and how much actual call minutes are being used. If your child gets angry when they are asked to get off the cell phone or an application, that is a good indicator, time away from the device is needed.
Healthy cell phone habits will make it easier for you and your family.
The WCA Group Health Trust was created when county officials joined together to create an employee benefit program that would meet the unique needs of local governments. Today, their founding principles still remain at the core. WCA Group Health Trust is governed by officials from participating units of government and school districts, making the organization more responsive to local healthcare needs.
Written by Retired Detective George Chavez, President of Chavez Consulting LLC