Mobile phone usage amongst teenagers and young adults in Pakistan

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Giving the devices to our teens is like giving them a car and a license to do whatever they want to! You cannot keep your child safe from these devices as they are a source of knowledge, communication and a lot of positive things also. But what you can do is, keep yourself updated on things they talk about and what they watch online and try to create conversation about it with them. This will keep them alert that my parents are aware of all these things.

Its amazing how these mobile service providers offer such great packages. From midnight deals to free stuff, they are giving such wonderful opportunities to the younger generation.

The ads normally portray young adults enjoying chatting, online activities and phone calls late at night. Some ads do have some sensible ideas but most encourage young adults to use the mobile irresponsibly.

Teenagers and young adults in Pakistan are smart and they know how to get what they want. Most of them will work hard (part-time/online) and can talk sense when convincing their parents. Hence, they know how they can manipulate parents. Their purchasing power is quite good. Many learn to earn at a young age.

I am not against the usage of devices amongst young adults. It’s ok if they can use it responsibly. But are they using it responsibly? Are they using it for their education, mental and physical health, religious education, to keep in touch with relatives and close friends?

Many are using it for gaming, watching inappropriate stuff and chatting with numerous people whom they don’t even know properly. Privacy is something we need to teach our children at a young age.

We need to inform them about the pros and cons of using these devices. Unfortunately, neither the government nor mobile network providers are concerned about the content these young adults are watching.

Tips for parents to keep track of mobile usage

Hence, parents and educational institutes need to address these matters. Some useful tips:

  • Parents should talk to their children and inform them about the consequences of using devices irresponsibly.
  • When teenagers become adults, a parent cannot simply go through their child’s mobile phones. It’s considered disrespect for their privacy. My suggestion for parents of older children is to become friends with them on different social media platforms e.g. instagram so that you know what they are posting there.
  • Observe your child’s behavior. If they are not behaving in a normal manner i.e. not eating, having sleeping issues, becoming too emotional and/or crying, yelling etc, calmly talk to them. They might be going through cyber bullying.
  • And last but not the least, pray to Allah to guide them on the right path.

It’s a jungle out there. Our children are already in it. We cannot lock them in cages. Let’s hope and pray that we give them enough basic moral education by the time they enter the jungle so that they are capable of making the right choices.

Also give them the assurance that if they make a mistake, they can come to you.

Research in this area

If you would like to know more about these developing trends here are a few journals that have researched these areas:

The main conclusion of the research findings was:

“Long-term smartphone usage was found significantly associated with behavioural and psychological problems among school-going children”

Another journal that discusses Pakistani youth using mobile phones:

Pakistani youth manipulated through night-packages advertising discourse, June 2017,Human Systems Management 36(2):151-162

(PDF) Pakistani youth manipulated through night-packages advertising discourse (researchgate.net)

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