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Parents, put down that smartphone for the sake of your kids

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 5:02pm

I read with concern the letter from Matthew Hui, “Living for ‘likes’: how Hong Kong teens reveal classic signs of social media addiction” (July 29).

Technology has indeed changed our way of life, by causing us to have less interaction and to lose the human touch.

At any gathering in the past, we would see people hold animated conversations. Things are totally different today. We see children as young as two glued to gadgets. As soon as they learn to read, parents equip them with such a device or a smartphone, so as to prevent them from throwing a tantrum while dining out.

But this also means that, over time, we will start to lose the ability to communicate face to face.

Once, I watched a father and his two daughters, each glued to their smartphones, never talking once during the whole meal, as if they did not know each other. This is a common phenomenon in Shanghai, where I now live.

Watch: Popular video app Tik Tok raises concerns about children’s privacy

Using technology to kill time can easily turn into an addiction. In Singapore, my former hometown, the papers would often report how internet addiction or online gambling nearly destroyed a family or careers. I believe it is time parents took the lead, by exercising some self restraint in using mobile phones or other gadgets, and setting a time limit for their children as well.

Summer holidays are on and children must not be allowed to stay glued to social media all day. Enrol them in swimming, painting or other activities, so they spend their hours in more meaningful pursuits.

Eunice Li, Shanghai