I remember a time when dial phones were our only communication devices. Every family member depended on that one device.
Often others occupied the phone before you. When we bought our first mobile phone, we felt free to communicate whenever we want.
As technology developed fast, we witnessed another revolutionary device- the smartphone. Smartphones provide us with communication through the Internet, social media activities, emails, videos, etc. Shortly, we can’t imagine our lives without our smartphones.
Smartphone Usage in Children
We know that smartphones are very popular among young people. Usually, children want to possess a smartphone to communicate, belong to a group, for educational needs, and to keep up with trends.
Because of that, parents allow their kids to use smartphones from an early age. Often we give children smartphones as presents for birthdays or as a reward for good manners. But in today’s world, we can see there are three groups of parents:
- One group of parents is tech-oriented and buys children smartphones from an early age;
- The second group of parents is not tech-oriented and doesn’t allow children to use tech;
- And the third group of parents tries to balance tech usage in children;
Pros of Early Phone Usage for Children
We, parents, can agree that using smartphones properly can improve our kids’ life.
Although you can argue that tech only has a negative effect, there are also positive effects that we’ll go over in the following paragraphs.
According to experts on this matter, technology can improve children’s ability to learn. Also, teachers often use technology for assigning homework, making presentations, etc.
Monitoring our Children
If our children have phones, we can reach them whenever we want. Also, parents can use parental control apps to monitor children. Studies show that almost 39% of parents use these apps to control their children and limit their screen time.
Communication and Socializing
Kids can easily communicate with friends using their phones and social media. Easy connection with friends is essential for developing communicative and behavioral skills.
Research and Finding Information
With tech, there is no more need to waste hours flipping books and encyclopedias to find an answer to your question.
Children helped by their search engines have turned into walking sources of information.
Learning Ethical Rules
Technology offers children the chance to be part of large communities, each with its own rules and boundaries. Smartphones provide our kids with ways to develop a responsible manner.
Since phones are expensive, children often gain a habit to maintain their phones and keep them safe from breaking. This behavior creates responsible and knowledgeable people that will lead the future.
Creative and Entertainment Usage
Everyone needs to relax, even children. And tech is perfect for relaxing! Kids can use smartphones for watching videos, crafts, drawing tutorials, home exercises, playing video games, scrolling social media, and more. But make sure to keep the recreational use of digital devices limited and controlled.
Cons of Early Phone Usage for Children
Besides the need for smartphones and our kids’ positive usage, we must consider the negative effects that affect every generation.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll look at what are considered the risks of tech usage in children.
Private Policy Issues
Have you noticed the terms and agreements and long privacy policies that websites want you to open?
Risk of Phone Theft
Your kids can be a target of thieves that stalk them and steal their phones. They can use information from the phone or simply sell it.
According to sources about 500 thousand children aged 11-15 have been victims of mobile theft.
Exposure to Inappropriate Content
Kids can face inappropriate content, comments, or abnormal behavior (cyberbullies, predators) online.
Studies show that almost half of the teens aged 11-16 have seen inappropriate content online, and other reports show that nearly half of the students have been bullied online.
Addiction is nothing new to us. According to Common Sense, approximately half of all children are addicted to their phones. This can ruin children’s health and lead to depression, panic attacks, fears, lack of focus and concentration, and low hygiene habits.
When Should Your Child Get Your First Phone?
When parents react impulsively, they provide their kids with a smartphone at an early age. But you should always look at the following factors when buying your child a phone:
- Age and Maturity;
- The real need for phones;
- Does your child want a phone only to keep trendy?;
The Importance of Maturity
Is your child aware of the value of the phone and can handle responsible usage? Kids need to learn the basics of maintaining and taking care of themselves, before learning how to use smartphones. Children that can’t take care of themselves, shouldn’t have phones.
How to Teach Children Proper Usage of Phones?
Firstly, you must set yourself as an example. Children always imitate what we do, so if you have good phone habits your child will follow.
Furthermore, you must always be there for your child and constantly communicate. Having a trustful relationship with your children can lead them to the proper paths in life.
And last but not least, setting up rules and monitoring your children’s smartphone activities are also things you must consider when giving your children smartphones.
I remember the first cell phone my parents gave to me, but I needed to earn it, keep it, and be aware of how I used it. When you figure that it’s the right time, buy your child a smartphone. But be a responsible parent and teach him/her how to properly use tech. After all, our children’s safety is a priority.
What is the best age to give a child a phone?
Experts at Child Mind Institute say your child shouldn’t get a phone until eighth grade. But it all depends on your child’s maturity and the decision is up to you.
Should kids have phones at school?
Kids should have smartphones in school to communicate with parents if they need help or to inform them when they leave school.
How many kids statistically have a phone?
Research says that 25% of kids have phones by the age of 10, 75% have phones by the age of 12, and all kids have phones by the age of 15.
Should children use their parents’ phones or have their own?
If children are mature enough and need a phone for daily life, you should give them their own devices.