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Photo: jenny downing

Despite the begging and pleading, some parents manage to put off the day when their children get their swiping little fingers on their first smartphone. Those parents are right to resist, according to a a new German study on the effects of all those iPhones and Samsungs on the brains and behaviors of children.

Researchers from the Mannheim Institute for Public Health found that nearly one in 10 young smartphone users (8%) is facing what can be classified as an addiction to the devices.

The study, which surveyed 500 children and adolescents (age 8-14), as well as their parents, turned out a slew of disturbing findings, German weekly Focus reports.

  • 50% of the youths surveyed admit being distracted by their cell phone, when doing other activities, notably their homework;
  • 43% of respondents divulge personal data they know they shouldn't, with more than one-fourth reporting having received messages from strangers;
  • 21% have entered pornographic websites from their smartphones;
  • 25% report feelings of stress caused by the constant communication via WhatsApp and other messenger apps.
  • 15% complain about missing out on face-to-face time with their friends;
  • 10% have been the victim of digital mobbing.

Meanwhile, the parents questioned say they feel ill-equipped for the challenges of managing their children's online activities, Focus reports. Some parents admit to secretly monitoring their children's smartphone activity. Some 15% of parents, instead, say they have simply surrendered any authority over the children's interaction with technology.

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