At this present time many parents are concerning, should their child have smartphones at what age. After all, the smartphone is the key access to the internet that many bring benefit but also danger with it. Unlike other things that have laws to control or a guideline on what age is the right age like driving a car or drinking alcohol, there is no legal age for a parent to decide when a child is ready for a smartphone. Since there are many pieces of research that said smartphone may affect their mental health and their social skills.
According to Jean M. Twenge, In the period between 2012 and 2016, more and more teens began to say they felt depressed. 10- to 14-year-old girls admitted to emergency rooms for self-harm tripled (2018).
In addition, Jean M. Twenge found that the average twelfth grader now spends six hours a day texting, online and on social media. Common Sense Media recently found that teens spend nine hours a day of their leisure time with screens (2018).
Which with these extensive using of a smartphone may affect child mental health. However, according to James P. Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, “No two kids are the same, and there’s no magic number, a kid’s age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level (2016).” Parent have to prepare and guide them so, that they are ready to have full access to the world. In this case, to give a child smartphone at a young age so, they will be able to learn and understand the proper etiquette of using a smartphone at a younger age.
I think kids should be able to understand the ‘real world to be able to control and take responsibility for themselves.
When I was ten years old, I got my first phone which is quite young. Having a smartphone help me a lot when the emergency comes. I could call my parent in the emergency situation, such as I have to go home by myself and smartphone help me a lot to find my way back home safely using GPS. It also helps me a lot in education, now school uses an online website to give out homework or even class work and it is much easier for me to be able to do my work without having to bring a laptop with me everywhere. My nine years old brother already have his phone, which I find very convenient not only for him but also for me too. When, I have to pick up my little brother at school and it is more convenient to be able to call and know where he is, which is better than walk around the school to find him. Age isn’t as important a kid’s maturity level. But when you hand your children cell phones, you’re giving them powerful communication and media-production tools. Which every parent should have a conversation with there own kid and figure out by themselves, if their child is ready to have this responsibility then let them have a smartphone. Letting them have a smartphone would not only benefit them but it will also benefit parent. In addition, smartphone these days is very inexpensive. The parent can also get low-cost phone plans. However, if the parent is very concern about their child phone access, there are also parental control feature that let parent look after their child phone usage.
When the parent gives their child a smartphone is a great way to teach the child responsibility. They have to take good care of their phone, make sure that it doesn’t get stolen or damage. Your child will enjoy having this responsibility because they wanted to have this responsibility. Moreover, this will be a better way to teach your child responsibility than giving them pet because this way it does not involve life. Smartphone also serves in safety purpose. Not being able to reach to their child in an emergency situation might be most parent worst fear. If the child has a phone with them and knowing your child can contact the parent, it will put the parent’s mind at ease. The convenience of a cell phone is one of the best features of cell phones these days. Convenience is a really important reason for you to get your child a cell phone because it benefits you and your child in many ways. Kids are the future and they will become an adult one day. Internet will play a big part in child life, so shutting them off technology that will be their whole life in the future only make them lose proper etiquette on how to use technology. How they are raised at a younger age is important to have a quality adult for the future.
Most of the parent may do not want their children to have a phone under the age of 13 but I think it important to have this conversation with their child. Good conversation is the main key to maintain a good parent-child relationship. No children are the same and the circumstance may differ because everyone has different family and personality. However, parent today have another parenting duty other than giving a child a book or tell them to eat healthily, the parent has to introduce them to responsibility in using technology. Parent have to demonstrate proper etiquette and test out rules for using the internet. Parent can research and look at studies to help develops rule is using technology. For example, a study published in the journal Child Development, researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute and Cardiff University conducted a similar study, assessing the impact of screen-time on children aged two to five. The team tested screen use guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), which proposes a limit of one to two hours per day, as good for the psychological-wellbeing of young children. Rather than shut them away from using technology, think of it as an opportunity to educate your child. “You know your child is ready for a device when you’ve talked about responsible use and modeled the behavior on your own device,” says Kerry Gallagher, a digital learning specialist at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts (2018). They have to understand the benefit and drawback about the technology, the parent should not disconnect them from it.
In conclusion, kids should have a smartphone. A smartphone may have many drawbacks but in reverse also have a lot of benefits. It teaches children responsibility, which is an important quality that a good adult should have. There is a saying in Thai said ‘ไม้อ่อนดัดง่าย ไม้แก่ดัดยาก’, translated to ‘New wood is easy to bend, but an old wood is hard to bend’ which means children are easier to teach than the older ones. If kids can understand the proper use and responsibility of having a smartphone at a young age, they will grow up to be a great person who will use a smartphone with proper etiquette. The parent being protective is normal but one day they will have a life without being a guide so, letting them know what will come in the future is a must. Internet will play a big part in child life, so shutting them off technology that will be their whole life in the future only make them lose their understanding of proper knowledge on technology. A psychologist and author of The Big Disconnect, Catherine Steiner-Adair says the real question is not about the “right” age or about the phone itself, but about whether your child is developmentally ready to have “full access to the adult world,” and whether you’ve laid the groundwork to prepare them for healthy and responsible device use (2018).
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