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Parents are the cause of cellphon addiction of kids

Posted August. 13, 2013 07:24,   


“Breakfast is ready. Come on out.” To this call of his mother, a boy did not answer. In fact, the boy could not answer because he was absorbed in a smartphone game. His mother kept calling. “Darn! You are so annoying!” yelled the boy. He might have not intended to say that to his mom. However, the mother got so furious that she slapped the boy in the face. The boy did not give in. He reported his mother to the police. Police investigation revealed that the mom had not only a criminal record for assault under the influence of alcohol but also a hangover from drinking on the previous night. This is a real incident that happened last week in Suwon.

Though alcoholism of the mother is a serious problem, her son’s addiction to a smartphone is no less serious. At eight o’clock in the morning, there was no room in the brain of the third-grade smartphone addict to receive his mom’s voice calling him to eat breakfast. In the mind of the boy, the voice of his mom who was not completely sober was just something annoying that intrudes into the world on his cell phone. And that annoying person even slapped him in the face, which, he thought, made her deserve to be reported to the police.

There are some points in this case, however, that we all should think about seriously. Except the facts that the boy went so far as to report his own mom to the police and that his mother was an alcoholic, the scene – a boy playing on his cellphone – must be familiar to anyone. A serious problem regarding kids’ smartphone use is that too many kids are addicted to smartphones. According to a recent study by the Gender Equality and Family Ministry, about one out of six schoolers is categorized as smartphone addicts, who often cannot eat or sleep due to anxiety without cellphones.

Parents are also aware that their kids can develop addiction to cellphones. However, a hard fight is waiting for parents who want to retrieve cellphones from their kids. Many defeated parents are often having telephone consultations with Youth Media Addiction Prevention Center at the Korea Youth Counseling & Welfare Institute. The following is what many parents would say: “I changed the plan for my daughter’s cellphone because she was addicted to smartphone chat. But my daughter threatens me saying that she would run away from home.” “I’m worried if my kid will be bullied online if he cannot join a group chat with his classmates.” These parents think there is no way to rescue their kids out of a swamp of cellphone addiction.

In the beginning, it was parents who caused their kids to be addicted to cellphones. Think about a restaurant. A cellphones is the favorite item that parents use to soothe crying babies. Kids sit still watching on their cellphones while their parents chat with their friends. Children absorbed in cellphone neither interfere parents’ chat nor annoy other people in the restaurant. Some parents even praise their kids’ concentration while watching their kids reacting to cellphone messages immediately. In this way, kids are encouraged by their own parents to become addicted to cellphone.

Counselors at the prevention center say that adverse effect of cellphone addiction is greater for kids whose brains are growing. The mother of the nine-year-old boy who reported her to police might be now paying the price for her original sin.