The first cell phone that I used was almost a brick compared to the models of today. At the time, I had my 15 years, and was on a trip to Florianópolis. My mother, concerned, left me with her cell phone so that I could contact in case of emergency.
Since then, the technology has evolved a lot. I passed by the cell with lanterninha LED (a great modernity), I had a Palm, and I was the first of my group of friends to have a 3G smartphone (a Windows Mobile old one with the keyboard). In all of these situations, I was far from being a child with a smartphone. Today, I see my friends with their children playing with tablets, and children of 12 years and even younger with smartphones more modern than mine.
With a background in pedagogy and an advanced knowledge in technology (I am an enthusiast since very young), I know of the impact that this can have on a young person’s life, if the technology is not introduced correctly, or if it is given to a child at the wrong time. So, what is the right age to let a child or teen to earn their own smartphone or tablet?
Parents and Mobile Phones for Children: Babysitters Electronic are Not Good Ideas
What else happens in relation to a smartphone or tablet in the hand of a child is that the parents, tired from a day of work, or without a lot of patience to educate or discipline a child, use the smartphone and the tablets as “babysitters electronic”. Do you think that? Do you think that you are a perfect parent? So tell me, how many times to calm your child, you have not put a video or a game on the phone to him? Or let it stay playing on your smartphone/tablet while you were busy with other activities?
This type of behavior, use the smartphone to occupy the time of the child or to discipline her (for example, so that it is quiet in certain environments “boring” for her) is completely wrong. This is to escape the responsibility of educating the child, and teach her how to deal with different situations and in different environments.
But What is the Right Age to Give a Mobile Phone for Your Child?
The question is not exactly the right age for your child to have a mobile phone, but is more related to the maturity of your child to have a smartphone or tablet.
Children mature at different rates. Before you equip your child with a smartphone, the smarter decision you can take is to analyze the maturity of your child, in addition to the responsibility of parents to monitor the amount of time that they will have use of your smartphone or tablet. You may want a cell phone only to make and receive calls to a younger child but a teenager will certainly want a little more than that.
Maybe the right question that the parents should be doing is not the age that the children should have a smartphone or tablet, but that his children should have a smartphone.
Why Your Child Should Have a Phone?
Children and especially adolescents have arguments that are more creative, appealing emotionally to the parents. Those responsible have to be resilient, and not give in to temptation. They must know very well their children and understand the reasons actual reasons that justify the purchase of a smartphone for a child or teenager.
Keep in touch: some parents see mobile phones as an ideal way to keep in touch with their children. The children may come in contact with their parents, receive calls, notify you when they need a ride, and make emergency calls if something bad happen. An adult still can use a smartphone to track the location of your son, giving peace to the parents more anxious.
Location: with a smartphone, children and adolescents may use services from maps and GPS to better locate, making it easy to to find, for example, the bus stop nearby, or order a taxi or Uber direct from where they are.
Education: educational applications are available in abundance for smartphones and tablets today. Do not use them is a decision that will leave your child at a disadvantage in the future, because more and more schools, universities, colleges, and even companies that use apps to educate more people.
Socialization: applications, chat, and social networks are another good argument to justify the purchase of a smartphone for your child. Even more when they are young, socialization has a crucial role to form the self-confidence and the friendships of their children.
Why Your Child Should Not Have a Phone?
On the other hand, we have another interesting question: why your child should not have a smartphone?
Children do not have the filter information: and this can result in children consuming more information than they are actually able to absorb. Stay the whole day connected to is not healthy for anyone, especially for those who do not have the maturity yet to deal with it.
Content inappropriate for children, even controlling as much content as possible, a smartphone will still give a child the access to a certain amount of inappropriate content, about which you do not have control.
The danger of talking to strangers: if your child is typing, or talking on a mobile phone, you have no idea who is on the other end. Your child could be talking with someone with bad intentions. They can also take photos and potentially share them with strangers.
The First Cell of a Child: the Right Age Depends on the Attitude of the Parents
The decision to give or not to a smartphone for a child should be based exclusively on one issue: the parents will be responsible enough to educate the child to use the technology? Will monitor the child to use the smartphone with responsibility? It is very easy to buy the smartphone, and leave with your child. The hard part is to convince and educate the child that he has to control the usage time of the smartphone, that he can’t use the device for certain things, or that spend too much time using any technology can do a lot of harm to the health. Games, for example, are good but it is good to set aside time for studies, friends, family, and other things also. Make your child understand these issues. Sit with him, talk. Take the smartphone for him if he does not want to understand. After all, the role of parents is to educate and punish children if they do not want to understand.
Knowing this and monitoring as well, any age is ideal for letting your children to use and have a mobile phone.
At what age do you think the right of a child to have a smartphone? Why? What was the age that you have earned the first smartphone of you?