A new epidemic that greatly affects kids

By Erik Pacheco '20

There has been a widespread occurrence of a new issue that has been greatly affecting kids to the point where their brain starts to diminish. Because of this issue, children are no longer able to think critically or solve problems when confronted.

Cell-phones are the issue in today’s society; children having cell-phones negatively impacts a child’s brain development, future, and family.

Cell-Phones

In 2020, the number of people worldwide who have smartphones is 3.5 billion, which translates to 45.12% of the population.

In 2019, the number of children in the U.S. under the age of 11 who have a smartphone is above average at a staggering 53%.

If it has not been known, cell-phones give off blue light radiation, which is known to cause macular degeneration (vision loss). Too much exposure to radiation can also cause the brain’s area to greatly lower.

Kids

It’s really sad to see kids nowadays not be kids anymore. Instead of going outside to play, they would rather be on YouTube watching other people play outside. Eventually, they’ll look back on their childhood years and realize they’ve wasted it by being glued to a screen because soon they’re going to grow up and have to live the life of an adult.

Here’s a real-world example: One day, I went to the mall with my family, and in the food court, I saw a family where the entire time everyone was glued to their phones; they didn’t exchange a single word. They got up, cleaned up their mess, left, and said nothing to each other. That’s just sad.

The truth about cell-phones and kids

Today, children just want to watch YouTube or be on TikTok. Screens follow kids everywhere they go no matter where they are at; children eat with phones, play with phones, use a phone in the car, etc.

Moreover, not only does being on social media cause people to fall into depression, but an immense amount of exposure to this radiation is especially dangerous to children. With children still having their brains develop, the brain is especially weak causing it to be damaged quicker than adults. For the first five years of your life, your brain is very absorbent, taking in radiation while using a cell-phone. If any damage is caused during those five years, those damages are life-lasting effects.

A study conducted by JAMA pediatrics concluded that higher screen use was associated with less well-developed white matter tracts throughout the brain, which are the areas of the central nervous system (CNS): “This is the first study to document associations between higher screen use and lower measures of brain structure and skills in preschool-aged kids,” this was said by Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician and clinical researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Being on screens for a tremendous amount can cause kids to have a “more disorganized, underdeveloped white matter throughout the brain” than kids who don’t spend a lot of time on screens. This is crucial because kids without the necessary amount of white matter would not learn properly or have developed problem-solving skills; these damages to the brain are permanent.

There’s no need for a kid from the age of 1-11 to have a smartphone. There are certain instances where kids do need a phone; for example, if their parents are separated. Also, the phone could provide an extra sense of security; however, they don’t need a smart one. I didn’t get a phone until the age of 13 (starting high school). I’m honestly glad that my parents did it this way. I say that when you’re going to start high school is the best time to get a cell-phone because even though our brains are still developing, it’s during high school where people begin to go out more, and they need to stay in touch with their parents in case anything happens.