There are around 9 million deaf or hard-of-hearing people in the UK and a significant proportion of these are children. One of the most significant difficulties deaf children experience is communicating with others. Children need to be able to interact with other children in order to develop friendships and social skills. Unfortunately, children who are deaf can be at risk of social isolation due to their disability.
However, technological progress can reduce this risk and allow children to develop meaningful social relationships, leading to happier more fulfilling lives. The face of social communication among young people is changing rapidly. Media such as social-networking sites and mobile phones are changing the way people communicate.
For children with a hearing impairment, a mobile phone can be a lifeline. Children largely use their phones for sending texts. Deaf children are able to communicate with others through use of SMS, allowing them to build friendships with children in their schools and local areas.
Communication through mobile phones has many advantages over traditional methods of communication, such as sign language, for those with a hearing impairment. For a start, few people in the population can use sign language. Even if the child is proficient in signing, they will not be able to communicate with others who cannot use the language. This restricts their interactions to other individuals with a hearing impairment, increasing isolation from the general community.
Mobile phones do not mark out the deaf child as different or special, since they are used by almost all children. The widespread use of SMS among children allows deaf children to better integrate into the community on an equal level. A hearing impairment does not affect a child’s ability to send and receive texts. In this one area they can communicate in the same manner as any other child. Ideally, mobile-phone technology should be used in conjunction with other communication methods such as sign language to allow for maximum contact with others for those with a hearing impairment.
Another major benefit of mobile phones is the level of independence they give deaf children. The ability to communicate their needs to others gives them the self confidence to be able to venture out on their own. With SMS technology, deaf children are able to assert their needs to others. If they encounter difficulties when out on their own, they can quickly communicate with others to get support and advice.
Mobile phones are also a helpful communication tool for parents of deaf children. Deaf children are not able to make conventional telephone calls but with a mobile, children can quickly inform parents of how they are via SMS. Parents can buy their child a phone contract that provides cheap or free texts, without free calls. This is ideal for the deaf child. Vodafone sim only contracts provide unlimited monthly texts, so the child is able to communicate with others without having to consider cost.
The use of mobile phones within the deaf community is a positive step towards encouraging greater communication. The use of SMS can help children to interact with others and develop positive friendships. Mobile phones also empower deaf children by providing them with a safety net that encourages independence.
Contracts such as Vodafone sim only deals allow for unlimited texts so children with a hearing impairment do not have any limits on how often they communicate with family and friends. Over the next few years, the potential of mobile phones to aid deaf children should be investigated to ensure this method of communication can be used more effectively.