Becoming a parent in this day and age is strange as our kids expect so many things that we never got when we were younger. For example, most children reach an age where they start noticing other kids with mobile phones, and they want one for their own. These days, you see kids in elementary school with iPhones or the latest tech on the market. Back when we were in school, we didn’t even know mobile phones existed – we’d be lucky if our parents had one!
There’s no denying that modern technology has made many elements of parenthood much easier. However, it’s also made it harder in many aspects too. Most notable is the smartphone debate. When should you give your child their first phone? Should you give it to them while they’re young or wait as long as possible until they’re maybe in middle school? To help you solve this conundrum, I have a few arguments for and against smartphone use and kids.
It’s Bad To Stare At Screens
You don’t have to be much of an expert to know that staring at screens all day long is bad for you. It messes with your eyesight, and can also lead to a disruptive sleep. For children, this is a very bad combination. Add in the fact that they already watch TV and probably use computers at home or in school, and you realize they have enough screen time as it is. Is it wise to give them another device that they’ll be glued to for hours on end all day long? The longer you wait until you give them a phone, the better it may be for their health.
Phones Help Your Child Develop New Skills
It can be argued that a smartphone helps your child develop new skills. The simple act of using a smartphone immediately helps them learn more about technology. In a world where tech is becoming such a huge thing, then it pays when your kids learn about it from an early age. Plus, you have mobile games that can really play a big role in honing your child’s key skills. As you can see with the release of Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, and many other games like this, most mobile games are built around problem-solving. You have to come up with a solution to a problem to beat the other players in big strategy games. In puzzle games, you have to work out how to break the puzzle and win. There’s a lot your child can learn, and many skills they can develop, by owning a smartphone.
It Makes Them Anti-Social
You could say that giving your child a phone will make them anti-social. When they should be talking to you or joining in with family fun, they’re on their phone instead. This is a big problem for a lot of people in this day and age. Walk around any shopping center or coffee shop and see kids of all ages just staring at their phones instead of talking to each other. Nobody wants to have a child that doesn’t talk to them or pay any attention to what’s happening – it’s bad for them and you!
Phones Help Your Child Stay In Touch With Their Friends
This point kind of counters the last point in that your children might not be as antisocial as you think on their phones. While they may not be paying you much attention, they could be communicating with all their friends and organizing plans to go out and play. Here, you can argue that – without a phone – they wouldn’t be able to talk to their friends and could end up left out. All the other kids in their school are chatting away, and they’re left in the dark not knowing about plans, etc. By having a phone, they can be more social with their friends and not feel left out.
So, at what age should you buy your child their first phone? There’s not a right answer here; it’s purely opinion-based. Some parents are happy giving children phones when they’re 7 or 8 years old. Others won’t buy them one until they’re at least 12 or 13. I think the best age is possibly in-between both groups; so, at 10 or 11. Your children are at an age here where their friends are probably getting phones, and everyone is starting to be a little bit more independent. Instead of going out with their families, children are going out together to a movie or a park at this age. A phone helps them communicate, but they’re also young enough to still develop key skills, while not being too old so they’re left out.