Technology has become an integral part of people’s daily lives. The modern generation is growing up with all the innovative devices and online networking sites being an essential in their childhood. Kids’ relationship with technology usually starts with iPads and their parents’ phones. However, elementary and middle school children soon get their own smartphones. According to recent statistics, the average age when a kid receives his or her first cell phone is 10 years old (Donovan). Parents view a phone as a part of their yearly school supply shopping since a new device is associated with convenience and safety. They believe that providing their child with a phone is the best way to contact them in case of emergency, which justifies a somewhat early purchase. However, it is important to acknowledge that cell phones can be dangerous for young kids. Parents with elementary and middle school children need to monitor and limit their kids’ access to mobile devices. Premature exposure of young kids to technology can have a range of negative effects on their development, adaptive skills, and attention spans. Although cell phones can be convenient as a remote communication method, they are a source of distraction, excessive screen time, and dangers related to online bullying and predators.
One of the most common concerns associated with young kids’ cellphone usage is bullying. According to prominent researchers, “giving a young child a cellphone increases the likelihood that the child will either become a victim of bullying or a bully themselves” (Englander). It is evident that the earlier the child gets a cell phone, the earlier they become exposed to the world of anonymous Internet comments and other forms of cyberbullying. A study of more than 4500 students in the United States concludes that having a phone in elementary school is associated with being a bully or a victim of bullying. Results of the study demonstrate that “three-quarters of third-grade cyberbullies carried cellphones, compared to only 37 percent of third-graders uninvolved in cyberbullying” (Englander). Therefore, it is apparent that young kids do not have the necessary mental frameworks to separate digital communication and real-life exchanges with peers. Children have a limited ability to predict how their online comments and actions can escalate into real fights and bullying. It is crucial for parents to assert specific rules regarding their child’s cell phone use, or limit their access to the device completely.
Apart from cell phones’ influence on young kids’ mental health, they can have various negative effects on children’s physical and cognitive development. Firstly, spending a lot of time in front of the screen, while using a smartphone, is extremely harmful to a child’s sight. That is why it is exceptionally important for parents to limit their kid’s screen time. Secondly, smartphones can be harmful to young children’s development since phones are associated with cognitive delays, lack of attention, and excessive impulsivity. Thirdly, “cellphone radiation disrupts DNA, weakens the brain’s protective barrier and releases free radicals” (Advocate). Children’s brains absorb much more radiation than adults, which is why phones can become a source of danger to young kids. Additionally, Debra Davis, president and founder of Environmental Health Trust, indicates that evidence shows a correlation between extended cellphone use and brain cancer (Advocate). Exposing children to smartphones at an early age can be extremely harmful to their physical health and cognition. Parents have to be aware of the effects phones have on their child’s development and future health condition. Therefore, it is essential for parents to wait when purchasing the first cellphone.
Parents usually associate cellphones with safety and regard their purchase as a precautionary measure. However, it is a common misconception that cell phones can keep children safe. In fact, smartphones and Internet access, in particular, are a source of numerous dangers, including predators and cyber criminals. Children are often not aware of the consequences of them disclosing private information to strangers online. Young kids can unknowingly post their home address on the web, which can put them in danger. Unfortunately, many sexual predators operate online, praying on children via social media networks and dating apps. It is extremely important for parents to acknowledge all of the different dangers their kids become exposed to once they get a phone. Even though cellphones are an easy and convenient way to communicate, parents need to consider the ways to monitor their children’s activities online.
In conclusion, it is apparent that young kids do not benefit from starting to use a cellphone at an early. Despite phones being seemingly convenient and useful, they are a source of danger for children, who have not yet learned about privacy, bullying, and predatory behavior. In addition, kids have a tendency to indulge and use their devices for hours at a time. This can have negative effects on their cognitive development and physical well-being. Parents have to be responsible and come up with techniques to moderate and control their child’s access to phones.
Advocate, Victoria. “Con: Safety, Health Concerns among Reasons Children Shouldn’t Have Phones.” Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints, 2013. Web.
Donovan, Jay. “The Average Age for A Child Getting Their First Smartphone Is Now 10.3 Years.” Tech Crunch, 2016. Web.
Englander, Elizabeth. “Kids with Cellphones More Likely to Be Bullies or Get Bullied. Here Are 6 Tips for Parents.” The Conversation. 2018. Web.