A new study by US-based non-profit organisation Sapien Labs has found that early exposure of smartphones to children can lead to several psychological issues as an adult. Now, citing the same research, the former CEO of Xiaomi India, Manu Kumar Jain, highlighted the “alarming impact” of early smartphone and tablet exposure on children’s mental health and urged parents to stop providing smartphones to kids.
“Parents, let’s talk about the alarming impact of early smartphone and tablet exposure on our children’s mental health. A friend shared this report from Sapien Labs that highlights a deeply concerning correlation between early access to smartphones (& tablets) to young children and the increased likelihood of suffering from mental disorders as adults,” Mr Jain said on Friday in a LinkedIn post.
Further, he noted that according to the study, among women, who received their first smartphone at the age of 10, 60-70% experienced mental health challenges. For those who did so at the age of 18, their percentage decreased to 46%. Similarly, the data said 45-50% of men, who were exposed to smartphones before the age of 10, are also facing similar mental health issues.
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“I urge parents to resist the temptation of handing over a phone to kids to keep them occupied – when they are crying, or eating food, or are in the car etc,” Mr Jain wrote in his post.
“Instead, encourage real-world interactions, some outdoor activities, and/or engage them in hobbies. By doing so, we can create a healthier and more balanced environment that fosters authentic learning and social interactions,” he added.
Mr Jain also pointed out that parents have the responsibility to protect their child’s mental health and excessive screen time can have serious consequences. “Remember, their childhood is precious, and it’s our duty to provide them with the best possible foundation for a bright and healthy future,” he said.
At the end of his point, Mr Jain reiterated that he wasn’t actually against mobile phones or tablets but just wanted to urge parents to practise caution when it comes to smartphones and young kids.