Smart phone use is moderation

Smart phone use is moderation

A new copyright law is being put into effect today. Following its enforcement, Line users have received repeated messages from friends warning them to stop sending flower photos with greeting messages like "Happy Tuesday". The reason is that these photos are taken by someone and those who use it without permission might be subject to a fine of up to 400,000 baht or two years in prison.

So if you are one of those Line users who regularly sends these pictures to greet your friends every day, you may feel reluctant to do so today.

Interestingly, Line users who like to send the flower picture greeting their friends daily are mostly those who are over 40. So such a warning will be more advantageous to them rather than younger Line users who prefer sending stickers to flower photos that appear somewhat old-fashioned.

Paibool Amornpinyokeat, an internet legal expert, explained that the warning messages are actually a misunderstanding because the mentioned flower photos displaying greetings are regarded as for personal rather than commercial use. Consequently, the use of such greeting messages does not affect the copyright owner.

So if you are a huge fan of those photos, you can go on sending them to your friends. If not, then this whole issue has no impact on you, apparently.

Net users of different generations have varying behaviours for communication. Even though use of the internet by people at every group has increased year on year, the user group in the 15-24 age group is the largest and fastest growing group. Among teenagers of Asia, Thais are reported to spend the longest time per day on their mobile phones.

According to Time Chuastapanasiri, a researcher at Academic Institute of Public Media, the new generation have seven communication behaviours: identities, instantly, intercultural, interactive, intertextuality, individualism and isolate.

He pointed out some negative behaviours of the new generation, such as they disclose their personal identity and address publicly on the internet; they consume nonsense content; they imitate violent antisocial behaviour; they are net-addicted; they lack social interaction; they use the internet for bullying and condemning others; they deliver hate speech and they demonstrate a lack of skills in not cross checking information they share. Students today even use the internet to copy homework, partaking in plagiarism and even spur on emotional dramas so that they go viral.

We already know that children are the group who are most at risk in the cyber world and it must be the duty and responsibility of parents to control the time they spend on the internet. But in the real world, I have found that technology devices are increasingly becoming more used by small children.  

Recently my eight-year-old asked me to buy her a mobile phone saying that for some subjects at school, students are assigned to work in groups and teachers encourage them to look for information on herbs via a smartphone. My daughter said she could not do the work because she does not have one.

Personally, I totally disagree with the teacher's idea of allowing the kids to use mobile phones in class, even though it may be just for a short period of time to search for information. Why should it be that such teachers do not encourage the young ones to go to the library or the computer room rather than letting them deal with their own devices in class? How can the teacher ensure that the kids won't visit any inappropriate websites?

Last year, schoolchildren aged six-15 living in Kariya, Aiichi prefecture, Japan were banned from using mobile technology after 9pm. The curfew aimed to discourage children from spending too much time on smartphones and to reduce online bullying. As a mother-of-two, I would like to have the schools in Thailand not only prohibit students, but also teachers, from bringing smartphones to class.

My kid sometimes asks me when she will be allowed to own a mobile phone. My answer today is still the same as when she asked me years before — I will do so when I am sure that she is ready to have it, but not any sooner.

For parents who are about to purchase a gadget for their kids, I recommend you read Janell Hofmann's 18-point agreement for the iPhone, the terms that her 13-year-old son had to agree on before the phone could be his. She wanted her son to avoid many of the pitfalls that teens fall prey to. Some of the rules set by the blogger and mother of five are:

"It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the greatest?"

"I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it." Another was "failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership".

So my point here is mobile phone users in different age groups have different issues to be cautious about. But, whether old or young, moderation is still key.

Sasiwimon Boonruang is a writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Sasiwimon Boonruang

Writer for the Life section

Sasiwimon Boonruang is a writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

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