Stress and addiction risk: why cell phones are so dangerous for children

Stress and addictiveness: Why cell phones are so dangerous for children

Stress and addictiveness Why cell phones are so dangerous for children

Researchers warn of the dangers of excessive cell phone use by children and adolescents.

Düsseldorf Every few minutes, the smartphone is used. The internet-enabled cell phones have become a constant digital companion for children and adolescents. The vast majority of them already have such mobile access to the Internet and handle their communication via it. Whoever has none is excluded. Many parents observe the handling of mixed feelings. Mannheim researchers now agree that the constant digital temptation in your pocket is problematic. Almost every tenth (8 percent) young smartphone owner is at risk of addiction. However, the scientists still consider banishing the multifunction devices not a good idea.

For the study commissioned by the State Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia, the researchers interviewed 500 children and adolescents aged 8 to 14, but also parents. The study is therefore representative of the cell phone owners of this age group. Many children and adolescents confront the researchers with self-critical questionable handling of mobile computers.

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Almost half admit to being distracted by the cell phone, for example from homework (48 percent), or rashly disclosing personal data (43 percent). More than one in four young respondents said they had received messages from strangers before. One in four feels stressed by permanent communication via messenger services such as WhatsApp (24 percent).

Mobile payment with the smartphone is the next big trend. But the process is still largely on hold, at least in Europe. Many consumers are not yet aware of the possibilities. To change that, the providers are asked, says the IT association Bitkom. And trust in the technology must be promoted.

According to the industry association Bitkom, there are 60,000 acceptance points for mobile payments with smartphones across Germany. Among other things, petrol stations rely on this, but large chain stores have also recently upgraded significantly. Aldi Nord now also offers mobile payment by mobile phone in all of its 2400 branches nationwide. At the Netto discounter, customers can even pay using the Apple Watch.

Until now, one of the bottlenecks was that retailers were sparsely equipped with the appropriate terminals. This should change soon, however, as the readers are being replaced on a large scale. According to the industry association Bitkom, there is also a hurdle in the fact that users are not sufficiently informed about the possibilities.

The money flows from the customer smartphone to the retailer in many different ways. The transaction is offered by retail chains, telecommunications and internet companies or hardware manufacturers such as Apple. As a rule, the user must download an appropriate app. Some providers rely on the QR code, a graphic square that works similarly to the barcode. If you want to pay with Yapital at the box office, for example, scan the QR code with your smartphone. The money is debited from a previously deposited credit. Most offerings use the near field radio NFC (Near Field Communication).

The smartphone is held close to the terminal. The transaction can also be secured by entering a PIN number. Among other things, the credit card provider Mastercard relies on NFC. The technology is supported by most current smartphones, now also by Apple’s iPhones. While Apple Pay is currently only available in the USA, industry experts expect that the service will also bring mobile payments into motion in Europe.

If payments with personal data are sent on the move, criminals could theoretically tap the data stream at several points. However, the NFC standard is considered to be particularly secure because, for example, it only transmits over a very short distance from the smartphone to the terminal. The data is encrypted. With Apple Pay, for example, the fingerprint of the iPhone user is also used for security. If the smartphone is stolen, the thief cannot access the account. Credit card providers additionally secure the transactions using a process called tokenization. The data is encrypted in such a way that only the bank can identify its customer.

One in five (21 percent) has already landed on adult websites, admits school problems due to heavy cell phone use (20 percent) and has already received violent videos with degrading images via smartphone (19 percent).

One in seven (15 percent) criticized the lack of genuine contacts with friends. One in ten (11 percent) have already been victims of digital bullying or of being excluded from WhatsApp groups. The problem of so-called sexting still seems the least among the eight- to fourteen-year-olds: just under every twentieth respondent (4 percent) stated that they had already sent intimate photos.

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