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Mobile phones are destroying Family bonds- Ahanta West MP

Hon Ebenezer Kojo Kum, Member of Parliament for Ahanta West Constituency , has raised concern about the overuse of mobile phones by parents and their negative effect on their kids, especially at meal times.

According to him, many families are losing out on quality time together, as some parents use family times checking their mobile phones.

Mr Kum raised the concern in a statement delivered on the floor of parliament on Monday 1st April, this year.

The biggest sticking point, he said is meal times, stressing that Ghanaians are gradually losing the usual courtesies they used to exchange due to the use of mobile phones to chat on social.

“Mr Speaker, there is this story told of a young girl whose teacher asked her what she wanted to be in the future. To her utter dismay, the school girl said she wanted to be a mobile phone. When pressured to say why, her response was very simple, “That’s the only way I can get the attention I desire from my parents. They have sufficient time to spend talking on phone, carry it with them to work, to the washroom, on their journey and make sure they always have sufficient credit to make calls or data to browse. They also do not forget to charge their phones, yet whenever I deserve or require their attention, they do not have time for me.”
“This example may sound weird, but Mr. Speaker, the little girl may not be alone. She may have other friends and school mates who are going through similar experiences in their homes,” Mr Kum stated.

He added, “Mr Speaker, the post on the Facebook wall of one of my friends on Facebook makes interesting reading:n“Your cell phone has already replaced your watch, camera, calendar, calculator and alarm clock. Please don’t let it replace your friends and family.”

Mr Kum admitted that, though the use of mobile phones has been of tremendous help to the masses especially with regards to business transactions, an overuse of mobile phones by parents disrupts family life.

He observed that, Cell phones are an invaluable technology that has fundamentally changed the way we communicate and get information but as with anything good, too much of it could lead to problems.

Beside the effect on family, the Ahanta West lawmaker noted the use of mobile phones by studentsisaffectingntheir academic performance, especially their writing skills.
He said this with reference to the huge number of students who fail their final English exams due to wrong spellings and shorthand or abbreviations of words which are mostly done during chats.

While calling on parents to monitor their wards who are in the possessions of phones with regards to how they use such devices, Mr Kum said it was about time something positive is done to curb the emerging trend before the country is overtaken by events.

Some of the MPs who contributed on the statement expressed similar sentiments and called for regulation,especially between parents and kids as well as teachers and pupils in schools.

Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye said “this emergence calls for serious action” and therefore referred the statement to the communications committee of parliament for consideration and report.

Overusing cell phones and cell phone addiction are the compulsive companions to phubbing, and like phubbing, they are increasingly becoming problems for more and more people.
Being constantly attached to our cell phones is taking a toll, not just on our relationships but on our mental and emotional well-being, affecting our overall health.

For instance, cell phone use while driving has become a growing danger as texting and cell phone use have been shown to dramatically increase the chances of motor vehicle accidents leading to injury and even death.

Other research have shown that addictive on smartphones are powerful mind- and mood-altering devices that can be as addictive as gambling or smoking.

FULL STATEMENT

STATEMENT ON THE USE OF MOBILE PHONES, SOCIALIZATION AND ITS IMPACT ON RELATIONSHIPS.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make this statement on a rather interesting but difficult issue which has become part of our very existence as Ghanaians.
Mr. Speaker, it needs no gainsaying that, in this present age, the use of mobile phones has really come to stay. In fact the enormous benefits of the phone cannot be underestimated.
Mr Speaker, available statistics indicate that one in every household of an average of four people has unfettered access to mobile phones. On a daily basis, the number of recharge cards that are purchased, contribute significantly to the national purse. The number of calls made per day on the various networks are many. A greater number of (telephone) users also use a bit of data to send WhatsApp, twitter, Instagram and other messages (among themselves).
Mr Speaker, one out of every ten persons, on a daily basis, receives at least seven (7) WhatsApp messages. These messages are sometimes forwarded to other platforms and we cannot fail but admit that if you unfortunately belong to more than one (1) platform which your “benefactor” also belongs to, you are likely to be inundated with the same message on all such platforms.
Mr Speaker, there is this story told of a young girl whose teacher asked her what she wanted to be in the future. To her utter dismay, the school girl said she wanted to be a mobile phone. When pressured to say why, her response was very simple, “That’s the only way I can get the attention I desire from my parents. They have sufficient time to spend talking on phone, carry it with them to work, to the washroom, on their journey and make sure they always have sufficient credit to make calls or data to browse. They also do not forget to charge their phones, yet whenever I deserve or require their attention, they do not have time for me. This example may sound weird, but Mr. Speaker, the little girl may not be alone. She may have other friends and school mates who are going through similar experiences in their homes.
Mr Speaker, the post on the Facebook wall of one of my friends on Facebook makes interesting reading:
“Your cell phone has already replaced your watch, camera, calendar, calculator and alarm clock. Please don’t let it replace your friends and family”.
Mr Speaker, it is now very common to sit in a bus, trotro, taxi, train (if it’s available) and see people busily using their mobile phone. The usual courtesies that we used to exchange as Ghanaians are gradually dying. If one is fortunate enough you get a ”hi” or “good morning” that is the end of the conversation.
Mr Speaker, at Conferences, Meetings and Seminars, attendees are mostly glued to their mobile phones either texting or sending a WhatsApp message or reading what has been sent to them.
Mr Speaker, what is worrisome is the way the use of the mobile phone has affected our social relationship as a family unit. These days, it is very common to visit a restaurant, bar or club with your friends, family or colleagues. As you sit down waiting for the food or drinks, it is usual to see the couple, family, friends or group eagerly glued to their mobile phones, either receiving calls or chatting. Sometimes, throughout the process, apart from the menu that the people may choose together, the rest of the outing time is devoted to use of the mobile phone. Siblings, who sleep in the same room, are also likely to spend more time on the use of mobile phones than engaging in a conversation.
Mr Speaker, whilst acknowledging the enormous benefits of the use of the mobile phone, truth must be told that it has the potential of seriously affecting our cohesion as a people, our family ties and our Socialization.
Mr Speaker, I believe that we can do something positive to curb this emerging trend before we are all overtaken by events.
Mr Speaker, I thank you sincerely for the opportunity.

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