HYDERABAD: The sight of children chatting, messaging or playing on their cellphones could be exasperating for parents, especially these days when examinations are just round the corner. But hang on a second. It appears that students are downloading games, applications or music to beat stress levels.
Parents may wonder why not take a walk or play outdoors during the precious little free time that they get ahead of the exams? Sounds sensible but their wards seem to be finding cellphones more entertaining. “In my school, break-time is usually spent talking over the phone, texting on Whatsapp or face-booking. They don’t prefer going out or playing. Only 10 per cent prefer to walk. Kids right from Class II have iPhones and smartphones and I was shocked to see a Class IV kid browsing Facebook on his phone. He even wanted to add me,!” says Neha Vyas, counsellor at Chinmaya Vidyala.
Her surprise or rather dismay, though, surprises the little ones. Shruti Raj, a Class IV student of Narayana E-Techno School, explains it away in her own way: “Whenever I am bored or feel like I need a break, I immediately pick up my phone and start playing Fruit Ninja, Farm Frenzy and many other games. I try to beat my previous scores, every time I start a new game.” Her sibling, Sona Raj, a Class IX student at Sri Chaitanya E-Techno School, adds, “I download designing and make-over games. You can create a person and design outfits and hair styles, and give them funky looks. I also play this surgery game where one can perform a surgery. During the course of this game, I learnt all about the medical equipment like forceps, scalpel and many more.”
If schoolchildren are at it, will college students lag behind? Tanmayee, a music lover and an intermediate student at the Narayana Junior College, says her free time is always dedicated to music. “I love music. It works as a stress-buster for me. So, whenever there is free time, I download the latest songs on my android phone or buffer them on YouTube.”
This trend is met with frowns from some parents but a few seem to be fine with it. Bhavani Chandrashekar, an LIC agent and mother of two, complains, “In these days of cut-throat competition, children always need small breaks to get refreshed. I always tell my children to come out of their rooms or go out. But, they remain glued to their phones, either listening to songs or playing games.”
Sobha Raj, mother of Sona and Shruti, however, reasons: “Both my daughters spend quite sometime with their cellphones. I am happy that they are making use of technology. They are spending only their free time on gadgets.”
Shaila Praveen, an English teacher at the Gujarati High School believes that children should not spend much time on mobile phones. “Children should take a break to relax and go out for a walk and get refreshed. If they spend the same time playing games on cell phones, the very purpose of a break is defeated as their mind remains occupied.”