A widely debated topic among parents is whether or not children should be given a phone. Not just an ordinary old phone that’s capable of only basic functions, but a smart one. Many parents would say no unless the child is old enough. But how old does a child have to be and should parents really give their children smartphones?
Some circumstances also left parents with no choice but to hand over a phone to their children. For example, if a child has to move often from one place to another on his own. The child may also be heavily involved in a team that requires frequent communication. Having a phone makes a lot of things easier. Parents who are supportive of children having a phone often cite peer pressure as the reason as well – “if other kids are carrying a phone, my child will feel left out if he or she doesn’t have one”. On the other hand, one may argue that a child does not always have to follow what is popular. We delve into the reasons why some parents are against the idea of children having a smartphone.
We all know that phones damage emotional connection
Technology is supposed to bring people closer together because now people can talk to each other from all over the world in just seconds. The irony is that the speed and efficiency of technology just cannot carry across the emotional connections that traditional mail can. It’s ironic how the act of opening the letterbox and receiving a handwritten postcard or letter is able to bring a certain undescribable joy. If every child had a phone, they would only know how to send instant text messages and emails. They would be missing out on the emotional connection that communication could possibly bring.
Having a phone threatens quality time
In addition to the lack of emotional connection, having a phone keeps one occupied. Games, apps, social media, instant messaging and the Internet are all in one handheld gadget. If one gets bored of Pokemon Go, he or she can move to Piano Tiles, Facebook and Youtube in just a few touches and swipes. With so many things going on in the hand, it is really difficult to look up to talk about the day or chat about random things. All this while waiting for dinner to be prepared (after all, we can talk about them on Facebook and Twitter statuses).
Children may be exposed to inappropriate content
With so much information and photos on the Internet, it is difficult to filter what your child is getting exposed to. Besides adult content such as pornography and violence, your child may be subconsciously influenced by the culture of cyberbullying. Just simple web browsing may lead them to undesirable comments that people leave on videos, images and articles. The downside of the Internet is that some people take advantage of the privilege of staying anonymous and post rude or offensive remarks to others. By reading these comments, children would be exposed to 1) profanities 2) slanders 3) racist or sexist content. They would grow to think that making such comments are fine. Or even worse, they would think making such comments are fine as long as your identity is hidden.
Phones can affect your child’s level of concentration
Smartphones and games are very stimulating for the brain. When everything comes in visual form and at the speed of light, your child’s level of focus will deteriorate. This can happen during times when he or she is not allowed to use the phone. This would mean their concentration levels would decrease during school hours. Addiction is particularly dangerous to children, as they often don’t know when to draw the line. It would result in them becoming more irritable and having difficulties sleeping at night due to over-stimulation. Poor concentration and sleep deprivation would then affect the child’s performance in school and daily activities. This could threaten the kid’s overall well-being.
Smartphones are not dangerous for children if parents know how to manage the child’s smartphone use. Teach your child to be responsible before giving them their first smartphone.