Should Kids under 13 be given smartphones? This is a debate question that has been on since the introduction of the gadgets in the market. Smartphones are gadgets that supports applications, internet, social media and browsing. Many people think that it is not proper to give smartphones to children who are under the age of 13 while other on the other hand other have opposing thoughts that smartphones are good for the kids. There is need for parents, guardians and children to have a clear understanding of the harm and negative effects that the smartphones might have on kids and to understand whether the kids under the age of 13 should be given smartphones or not.
According to Radesky, Schumacher and Zuckerman children should not be allowed to own smartphones until they are at the age of 16 years (2). Smartphones are known to be addictive. It has been observed that pupils who go to school with smartphones often get disrupted in during lessons. The reason being that they have developed a habit of being on their phones all the time hence getting addicted. Overcoming addiction can be difficult especially to small kids. Kids should not be allowed to use smartphones unless it is absolutely necessary the authors added. Smartphones brings temptations to students while in class. Radesky, Schumacher and Zuckerman noted that children are believed to misuse the gadgets by accessing sites which are prohibited for kids for example watching pornography (3). When children get exposed to smartphones at early age tend to develop bad behaviors. Considering the fact that smartphones have a range of applications, games and any other information one may need to use they tend to be enjoyable and addictive. When children are given smartphones at an early age, their creativity is reduced since all they have everything in the phones hence limiting their abilities of thinking and imagining. Smartphones turns them into consumers and not creators.
Purchasing smartphones is not cheap. Other parents think that instead of spending an approximate of $600 for purchasing a smartphone for a kid, they would rather do something more constructive since for them they do not see the importance since kids under the age of 13 can be so careless and end up dropping the phone hence damaging it. There will be no use of wasting money on it. Similarly, purchasing smartphones will make them feel very excited and they might even fail to sleep as a result. Given the fact that kids needs to sleep, the parent would have violated the right of the child of getting some sleep during the night by giving them the phone. Another important aspect that children develop when they have smartphones is the social outcast (O'Neill and Dinh 50). Kids owning smartphones will hinder them from having face-face interaction with the people around them. Kids need to learn how to interact with other people face to face but not socially. Smartphones are believed to wreck the childhood of kids and eventually hinders them from appreciating the small pleasures of life one should experience as a child.
Studies have shown that children under the age of 13 are completely living in the culture of the internet (Akdag and Cingi 1). Instead of the children using the phones in resourceful and important ways, they visit social media sites, pornographic sites and gaming sites. The children have developed the habit of playing games just as they see their elder people do. The problem with them is that, once they start involving they cannot control themselves. For them they cannot realize whether what they are doing is right or wrong. Children play violent games on the internet without boundaries since their parents are alienated from the internet platform. They participate on social media sites that will eventually have negative impact on the way they view the world or their spiritual beliefs and well-being. Nobody would like to have a generation that is demoralized. Exposure to internet through smartphones has been seen to change the behavioral habits of majority of children under the age of 13. Other children go to extends of disrespecting their parents as a result because of the negative and harmful information they are exposing themselves with (Strasburger 960).
Other opinions from a few other people think that smartphones are helpful for the kids. They believe that smartphone has a powerful technology which most people use in their day to day lives. Their view is that sometimes children may be needing to communicate with their parents in critical situations for example when they miss the school bus and they need to ask their parents to pick them up (Steiner-Adair and Barker 57). Without the phones the children will not be able to reach their parents hence putting them in danger. Since no parent will not be happy when their kids are at danger they prefer to give their kids the phones for communication. Others give smartphones to their kids to help them in learning. Given the fact that smartphones support internet and browsing, some parents find it helpful for their children to use smartphones in doing their research. Other parents have a different view on this, to them age is not a factor to consider before giving the kid the gadgets, for them they consider the level maturity of their kids and their tech-know-how (Steiner-Adair and Barker 58). They just way their kids and see if they are mature enough to be responsible on how they use the smartphones. Other parents decide to give the phone to their kids but with limits. They establish a set of rules to govern the use of the phones; time limit and accessed information. This might be difficult since the parent will not be with the kids at all times, but to them it is better that way.
When children are given the freedom to own a smartphone ends up surpassing its limits. Despite the fact that the phone can be of importance to them, the level at which they are exposed to the dark world of gaming, social media and pornography is damaging their lives. The debate on whether children under the age of 13 should be given phones or not should not be a topic of discussion. It is evident that smartphones are harmful to children since children cannot control themselves in any way. There is need to prohibit them from owning the gadgets. Parents and guardians should understand the dangers they are exposing their children when they give them phones. Therefore they should take the initiatives of ensuring that their kids do not have access or ownership of smartphones.
Akdag, Mustafa, and Mustafa Cingi. "The Impact of Internet and Social Media on Kids and Parents Game Habits." Epiphany 7.1 (2014):1-2
O'Neill, Brian, and Thuy Dinh. "Net Children Go Mobile: Initial findings from Ireland." (2014):45-56
Radesky, Jenny S., Jayna Schumacher, and Barry Zuckerman. "Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad, and the unknown." Pediatrics 135.1 (2015): 1-3.
Steiner-Adair, Catherine, and Teresa H. Barker. The big disconnect: Protecting childhood and family relationships in the digital age. Harper Business (2013): 56-67
Strasburger, Victor C., et al. "Children, adolescents, and the media."Pediatrics 132.5 (2013): 958-961.
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