Take 5 – 29 February 2016 by Miss Kymn Yee
Today is 29 February. 29 February comes around once every 4 years and is known as the leap year. Why is there a need for this system? It is a corrective measure in the Gregorian calendar to keep the calendar year synched with the astronomical year. What is the Gregorian calendar? It is the calendar which we are so familiar with. The 12 months of the year starting with January ending with December with 365 days in a year in a non-leap year. So a person born on this day, known as a leapling, would unfortunately get to celebrate his or her birthday only once every 4 years.
That’s your little titbit of the day. Let’s move on to the message of the day.
You may have heard of the accident that happened two fridays ago of this 17-year old boy who got hit by a bus. He was said to be using his mobile phone as he was crossing the road. While I do think that crossing the road while being distracted by our mobile phones is a serious problem, I think there is an underlying problem that may be bigger than this as I look at all of us here.
How many of us are actually are so addicted to our mobile phones that when we walk, regardless of whether we are crossing the road or not, our eyes are transfixed onto our screens, oblivious to our surroundings.
According to a study, the number of hours a youth spend on social media using a mobile phone is an average of two hours per day. The number of phone ownership amongst the youths now is more than 85%. If you look around in your class, I believe a great majority if not all of your classmates will own a mobile phone.
I am not denying the benefits of having a mobile phone. It does give us the power to talk wirelessly and communicate with others with ease and to respond with speed. It also has given us the added function of taking pictures and videos, listening to music, playing games and assessing the internet. The benefits are something most of us are familiar with so I will not go on listing them.
However, there are also negative impacts on the use of mobile phones.
1) Teen Tendonitis
Because of the frequent use of the mobile phones and having to tilt your head downwards, it can lead to poor posture, causing pain in the hands, back and neck. It can even lead to impaired vision. You may not feel it now, but doing it often and frequent enough, the symptoms might come eventually.
It has been shown that teens who spend too much time with their mobile phones are more prone to stress and fatigue. It can also lead to psychological disorders. It is very tempting to spend all day on our phone, talking, texting, playing games instead of doing anything productive. And then when work is due or not done, you get stressed up. Sounds familiar?
3) Sleep loss
Some of us keep our mobile phones nearby when we sleep so that we can respond to texts and social media. We feel pressurized to respond round the clock. This leads to interrupted and disrupted sleep and hence we become irritable when we are sleep deprived.
4) Increase in anxiety
Texting and social media is instantly gratifying but it also produces anxiety. The instant reply by a friend can bring joy and elation but in case of no response, delayed response or even not the response we are expecting, this same pleasure turns into disappointment and anxiety.
5) Cyber bullying
Do you know that Singapore, as small as we are has the 2nd highest rate of cyber bullying among youths? The ease of access to smart phones may have made cyberbullying more attractive to youths. And you know what? Half of the cyber bully victims do not know the identity of perpetrators.
I have only listed just 5 negative impacts of owning a mobile phone. This lists is also endless. The next time when you go out for dinner with your family. Look around the table and see how many of you are on your mobile phones. Look at the surrounding tables. How many families do you see, though seated round a table but yet most members are on their phones. Family dinners once used to be a time for conversations among those seated at the table, but now is just a time to sit around the table communicating with others through our mobile phones.
Mobile phones in recent years have been sort of a nuisance in schools – from distraction from lessons to taking inappropriate pictures or videos. This problem has escalated to the point that there has been much talk about banning mobile phones in schools. I believe, the biggest problem with mobile phones is not the phone itself but the user. Do we have the discipline to ensure that we control our mobile phones and not allowing our mobile phones to control us?
Some suggestions to limit the use of our mobile is to
1) Switch the mobile off when we are in school. Not just switch to silent, but actually switch it off so that the temptation to look at it is not there
2) When you feel the urge to look at your mobile, don’t! Fight the urge to break the habit of having to constantly check your mobile.
3) Keep the mobile in your bag and not your pockets and especially not on your table when in class so that the mobile is more than just an arm’s length away and therefore more difficult to reach.
4) The last suggestion I have and I think the best, is to keep your mobile at home. This way, you will not get distracted at all in school.
These are just a few of my suggestions. If you have better suggestions of how to stay away from your mobile in school and in your personal life, please try them out.
Look at your hands. The fate of the use of mobile phones in schools in the near future are in those hands of yours. How will you implement self-control?