A teacher of a primary school in HCMC said some parents asked her to allow their children to use mobile phones because this is the best way of communication. However, the proposal was refused.
“The parents said they would allow their children to use phones with no internet connected. However, students know what they need to do to access the internet,” the teacher said, adding that there are too many ‘unsafe things’ on internet.
In 2014, the HCMC Education and Training Department intended to apply an e-textbook program, under which every student would be equipped with one tablet.
However, the program was canceled after facing strong opposition from experts, who called it ‘abuse of technology in teaching’. They said it would be a blunder to allow children to access high technology too soon, while there was no solution to control their use.
Nguyen Ho Thuy Anh from John Robert Power School said many parents were wrong when believing that smartphone is like an ‘open world’ for children to discover. In fact, smartphones can stunt children’s imagination and deprive them of their childhood.
“The child who is not dependent on mobile phones will have better imagination and observation capabilities, and a free way of thinking, not relying on available things of other people,” Anh explained.
Vo Van Nam, lecturer at the HCMC University of Education, said children will just search for existing knowledge on the internet, but don’t have to think. This will kill their creativity and become lazier. If so, they will lack life skills and will not know how to react in different cases.
However, some analysts said parents should not be blamed entirely for allowing their children to use smartphones at very young ages.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Diep, a teacher at Horizon Bilingual School, noted that urban children are at a disadvantage because of the lack of playgrounds. As they have nowhere to play, they have to stay at home and use smartphones.
The regulations for general schools set by MOET stipulate that students must not use mobile phones and music players during lesson time. However, the regulation is ignored.
Experts have warned that students may use smartphones for wrong purposes, which would lead to serious consequences.
In 2017, a male student in Ninh Binh, who was caught using smartphone, panicked and jumped onto the first floor and broke his legs.
And a mother said she was astonished to catch her son, a third grader, playing a violent game which he said he had downloaded from the internet.