Parents are going to be faced with the question “Can I have a smartphone?” This is undoubtedly the question that all parents will not be able to ignore or push to the back of their minds.  As children grow and learn, they must face the challenges of society.  This will play a huge role in their desires to obtain many of the items their peers possess.  In dealing with theirchild’s request, parents must also formulate their own questions. First they must look at their child’s ability to be responsible enough to handle a mobile phone.  Secondly, they must ask themselves if their child is going to be persuaded by their peers to improperly use the phone.  Thirdly, they will want to think about all the reasons their child should and should not have a mobile phone.  While mobile phones can be an asset to children they can also become a harmful item when unsafely used in the social realm of today’s society.  There are many pros and cons to the subject of kids having a phone as well as what type of phone they should have. I believe they should be allowed to have a mobile phone rather than a smart phone. According to the latest research, on average, a child gets his or her first smartphone at the age of ten years.  

Research shows that fifty percent of children will have a social media account, primarily Facebook and/or Instagram (Curtain 2017).   When a child comes to a parent requesting a mobile phone the parent will need to sit down with the child and discuss the good, the bad, and theugly” of a mobile phone as well as a smartphone.  One of the first things the parent will want to establish is the developmental level of the child.  While some children are capable of handling a mobile phone at the age of ten others may not be.   

The next item to consider is the need for the phone. Many children may be involved in an after school activity and need to stay at the school far past the normal school day.  In this case, the child may need to reach the parent for pick up times or other reasons.  While most sponsors do have access to a phone, many do not due to school restrictions.  In this situation it could be more convenient for the child to have his or her own phone.   

Another item to consider when choosing a phone for a child could possibly be the type of phone the child actually needs.  Often a simple flip phone will meet the current needs of the child.  This could eliminate the possibility of the child being able to enter the dangers of the cyber world.  The parent may want to look at how the possession of a smartphone could help the child develop responsibility skills.  Once the parent has established the rules for the possession and expectations of allowing their child to have a cellular phone; they will certainly want to help the child build and demonstrate responsibility.   

Independence is another area in which a cellular phone can be an asset for both the parent and the child.  Children need to be independent, however, that independence must be guided by the parent and a cellular phone is one way a parent can view the independence of the child.  Parents should allow their children to make mistakes; however, those mistakes should be understood and dealt with by both the parent and the child. Children learn through their mistakes when they have parental guidance to see the pros and cons of the mistake they have made. 

Although, there are many reasons a child should be permitted to have a phone at an early age there are also many reasons a child should not be allowed to possess a smartphone.  Studies indicate that the possession of a smartphone can contribute to the lack of relationships with parents as well as the outside world (Imafidon 2107).  Most children who are allowed to have a smartphone at an early age tend to want to stay on the phone rather than communicate verballywith family and friends. Verbal communication is necessary for the proper developmental skills of children.  

 The creative minds of children who use a smartphone excessively tend to be limited.  The child will rely on the creativity of others rather than spending time in their own creative thoughts.  Smartphones have been blamed for the obesity of many children around the age of ten to fifteen years old (Imafidon 2017).  Rather than be involved in a physical sport, the child will want to play games on the smartphone which will lead to the lack of physical activity to promotegood health.   

Behavior is another issue which has been discussed as a result of children excessively utilizing a smartphone.  Often a child will act out what they have experienced.  Many of the games and media available on the smartphone are filled with violence and bad behavior(Imafidon 2017).  Children are impressionable and tend to allow this violence to stem over into their daily lives.  Teachers have indicated that those children who possess smartphones tend to have behavior issues in the school setting.   

When children spend excessive time on their smartphone they tend to miss much needed rest.  Research indicates that the blue light emitted by the phone screens interferes with the sleep hormone melatonin (Imafidon 2017).  This issue can even spill over into the future.  It tends toremain with the child even though they no longer demonstrate excessive phone usage before going to bed. Research indicates that a child’s overall development is jeopardized when excessive smartphone use is allowed (Imafidon 2017). 

  A smartphone could become a source for an addiction.  This addiction engages a child’s mind and can actually captivate them for a long period of time, even into adulthood.  Lastly,research indicates that most depression and anorexia in kids can be contributed to the excessive use of a smartphone (Imafidon 2017).  This can occur when the child is bullied and often unsupervised. 

I am of the opinion that children who are mature should be allowed to possess a mobile phone rather than a smartphone.  This is due to the fact that on a mobile phone a child will be able to call and text rather than access the internet.  With a smartphone a child could possibly be in harm’s way.  There are those who hide behind a phone screen in order to expose a child to some very negative thoughts, ideas, pictures and immorality.  In addition, there are people who use cyber bullying to warp the minds of young children.  This can lead to a child becoming depressed and possibly suicidal.  A smartphone is often used to promote the selling of unhealthy substances.  Children can be traced through the tracking systems of smartphones.  This can inform an individual of the exact location a child is in at any time Many children have and will be kidnapped as a result of misuse of a cellular phone.  Also, on a smartphone, a child can download a wide variety of gruesome games which can cause the child to develop an acceptance of violence.   

When parents face the dreaded question of a cellular phone they must respond with a well thought-out answer.  Parents are well aware that their children will learn and develop the need toface the challenges of society, which will include the request for a smartphone.  They will no doubt have already prepared themselves for this question.  Parents will need to think about the maturation level of their child.  They must think about the type of phone their child will benefit from and yet protect them from society.  Most parents are aware that their children will be faced with the desire to have many of the items their peers possess.  Therefore, they will need to sit with the child and develop a set of rules for the child to follow when having a phone.  They mustalso think about how the child will be influenced by their peers.  A young child may need a phone to reach parents following school activities as well as other safety reasons.  Parents may want their child to have a phone in case of an emergency.  

 While there are many reasons a child may need a phone there are also many reasons a young child should not have a phone.  Parental relationships can be altered. The child will not communicate properly with parents and the outside world.  Creative thinking can be jeopardized Violence and bad behavior can become a concern for both parents and teachers; achild’s health may be altered as a result of the lack of exercise and rest.  Addiction can cause depression and anorexia.  I believe a child who is developmentally capable of properly handling a phone should have the right to possess one.  In addition, I believe a child should be well supervised by the parents in order to help protect the child from the many dangers lurking in society.  It is the responsibility of the parents as well as the child to determine the need and time a child should be given a mobile or smartphone. 

 

Curtin, Melanie. “Bill Gates Says This Is the 'Safest' Age to Give a Child a Smartphone.” Inc.com, Inc., 10 May 2017, https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/bill-gates-says-this-is-the-safest-age-to-give-a-child-a-smartphone.html. 

Imafidon, Casey. “10 Reasons You Shouldn't Hand a Smartphone to Your Children.”LifehackLifehack, 2 Aug. 2017, https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-you-shouldnt-hand-smartphone-your-children.html. 

 

 



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