Not only are we seeing children younger and younger talking on their own cell phones, but today’s kids are also having the luxury of smartphones. Some people choose to give their kids a smartphone because their kid wants it, while others choose a smartphone because of its features, but how early is too early for a child to have a smart phone?
It’s true that the Droid and iPhone have apps ranging from toddler to adult, but just because there is a flashcard app for toddlers doesn’t mean you should run out and buy your two-year-old an iPhone, does it? No.
Due to the advances of technology and the ease of finding it at our fingertips, children today will be more technologically advanced than any of their ancestors. Children are learning to type before they’re learning to write and small children know how to work an iPhone before they know how to tie their own shoes.
Unfortunately today we live in a world of predators. Many parents give their child a cell phone around the age of 12 (usually around the age when a child becomes more independent and wants to do more without a parent tagging along). This way, the parent can get a hold of their child whenever they want. Some cell phones also allow GPS systems to be placed on them, giving parents that extra sense of security knowing they can track their child’s every move. If this is all you’re looking for, than a regular phone is all you need.
While smartphones give your child added luxury (more games, easier access to the Internet), they also open them up to more danger. If your child has easy, unmonitored access to the Internet, they may be interacting with child predators or watching inappropriate movies on YouTube.
The cost of smartphones is also something to consider. Children are not very responsible. Is it a smart move to spend $300 on a phone plus $80 per month on a plan for a phone that your child can lose or break?
Along with the monetary costs of losing a smartphone, there is also the cost of safety. A smartphone contains a great deal of personal information. Simply opening an app on a phone (if not password protected) allows anyone who finds it to have access to your child’s contact list, email account, social media accounts, and any other personal information.
Today’s children are also being raised in a world of instant gratification. Instead of giving trophies to the winning basketball team, everybody gets a participation trophy and there are no winners. Society is so afraid of teaching our children how to lose that we set them up to deal with failure at an older age. Giving your child a smartphone simply because they want one is the same thing. Rather than give in to your child’s demands, make them earn it. Tell your child he or she can have a smartphone when they can afford it themselves.
Purchasing a smartphone for your child is a topic you really need to think about. Is it really the smartest move, or are there better options? You definitely need to weigh the pros and cons before making (or not making) the smartphone purchase.