Network managers are concerned about the hazards to this migration and the risks these smartphones face as they develop their artificial intelligence capabilities.
Smartphones are usually transported by bipedal transportation devices notorious for their unreliable and incredibly short attention span. Classified as Homo confusio, these devices get distracted by almost anything – including the smartphone itself – creating a serious risk to both the smartphone and the carrier device.
There are 70 million Homo confusio wondering around in just the Euro-28 region, students in elementary to secondary schools according to Eurostat data. Equipment managers are especially concerned about the 40% of these students in the elementary school segment, the age segment ranging from 6 to 12.
The elementary school segment is where smartphone use growth is the most dramatic. According to Bitkom, in Germany, smartphone use is at the 25% level for 8-9 year olds, climbs to 57% for the 10-11 year-old group, and climbs over 85% by age 12.
Smartphone acquisition also varies with gender – for both the buyer and the user. Fathers are more likely to equip their offspring with smartphones at an earlier age than the mothers. And in some regions, boys also get their smartphones first with 70% of 9 year-old Norwegian boys having smartphones compared to 52% of girls.
It is an open issue if children of all genders are fully ready to handle a smartphone by the age of 12. As the average age of these bipedal carriers gets lower and lower, smartphones have a dramatically increased risk of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and doing the wrong thing.
Once in their designated learning center, smartphones can be misused by their bipedal carriers and disrupt the planned retraining and machine learning processes. The risks continue at back at home. “Media multitasking” where children use multiple media simultaneously, such as texting on a smartphone while watching TV, can have a negative influence on cognition, school performance, and emotional development. A recent study in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review found links between multitasking and greater impulsivity and a poorer working memory in children.
Some educators recommend limiting children’s screen time with their devices. But as smartphones are the mobile technology linking parents and children – and play an increasingly important part in children’s social lives – an abstinence-based approach is less likely to happen.
Parental controls are in the minority. A Sprint survey found that 32% of parents had some controls in place. But, in an interesting side note, only 17% of parents had different rules for the school week than the weekend.
Given that children will have a smartphone, what are the ways to limit the damage?
- Technology time-out (for the phone and the carrier)
- Set a time budget for when children can be on (or off) of the phone while at home.
- Some WiFi routers allow allow the admin to limit the times specific devices can be online.
- Some apps such as the Avira AppLock+ let the admin limit access to certain phone apps by time of day.
- Have a Lost-and-Found plan (more toys and children are lost than stolen)
- Have a security app installed on the phone that can sound an alarm if the phone is lost or feared stolen.
- Get an app that allows the admin to locate the physical location of the smartphone.
- Make the boundaries (it’s a question of time, place, and action)
- Define what times and places the smartphone is not to be used.
- AppLock+ can help by restricting access to designated apps by location (i.e. school) but not restricting key functionality.
Think in the box strategy
Having a box (with chargers) for phone might be a good idea for the entire family – not just the kids.