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Cell phones for Kids. Yes or no?
6 COMMENTS
July 1, 2014  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

You´ve probably heard your children ask you for a cell phone. But when it comes to really knowing whether they need it nor not is a hot debate. Parents and teachers have different points of view on the subject. Six out of 10 children between the age of 10 and 15 have a cell phone. But are they good for our children? We´ve analysed the main advantages and disadvantages of children using smartphones.

Communication

The majority of parents supporting the use of cell phones among children believe that they are wonderful tools of communication. If their children are away from home (at a summer camp, on a school trip, etc.) or in case of an emergency, these parents will comforted by the fact that they can call their son or daughter and vice versa simply by pressing a button.

Different studies show that young cell phone owners do not use them to be in touch with their family. The large majority of cell phones today allow children to take pictures, send messages, listen to music, surf the Internet, watch videos and have access to social networks. These characteristics, for socialization and entertainment, are what put them at risk of sexting or bullying and limit their real interaction with friends.

Social

Cell phone do have the advantage of integrating children in social groups. If your son is a pre-teen, he´ll  surely want a cell phone he can whatsapp his friends with or be in touch with them via social networks. If his cell phone does not have these apps, he´ll probably feel excluded and will miss out on group plans and activities.

Experts believe that although new technologies do have benefits when it comes to socializing, they may never be substituted with interpersonal relationships. Biviana Delgado, clinical psychologist of the Montessori British School says that: “if minors are on their cell phones too long, they´ll eventually have a problem interacting face to face with their peers or lose the habit to do so.”

Along these lines, many parents believe children should be out playing and enjoying the fresh air instead of being glued to their phones. Besides, learning to communicate and to listen should be something taught at home. 

Other parents end up giving their children cell phones just so they leave them alone. According to Teresa Belton, researcher at the East Anglia Education and Learning Centre believes this is a great mistake as it: “avoids parent-children communication and impedes children to develop their creativity and learn to entertain themselves.”

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Learning

Smartphones are a window to the world of information and if it´s used properly, they can help children to maximize their capacities and skills. In fact, the UNESCO holds an annual event called Mobile Learning Week where new technologies are analysed as methods to learning processes.

However, in the majority of cases, cell phones are a distraction that interferes with studies or sleep. According to a recent study, three out of four children under 18 never turn their cell phones off.

Teachers and school staff are trying to prohibit the use of cell phones in the classroom because of the recent cyber bullying and harassment cases. According to the report on “Youth and Violence” on behalf of the Pfizer Foundation 11,6% of teenagers between 12 and 18 years old have suffered psychological abuse via the internet and 8,1% through the use of cell phones.

What to do if our children want a cell phone?

You should really evaluate whether your children need a cell phone or not. Don´t be pressured or rush into making the decision. Trusting your children with a cell phone of their own should l depend on their level of maturity and responsibility. Remember, a cell phone is not a toy.

Before you buy one, we encourage you to read this post. 

What do you think? Are you in favour or against children using cell phones’

Photo Credits: Thomas Kholer

Photo Credits: Dinuraj K

CATEGORIES: KIDS & TIC's  |  TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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