A Smart-Age for a Smartphone | Teen Ink

A Smart-Age for a Smartphone

May 28, 2019
By berenk SILVER, Tirana, Other
berenk SILVER, Tirana, Other
5 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Have you ever seen a happy family on the street walking all together, with every family member with a phone in their hands? I can for sure bet you did. What if the 5-year-old toddler was carrying a phone of his or her own? What would you think about that? I’m sure a lot of us are wondering: what’s the right age for our child to have a phone?

Phones are a part of our everyday life. We use our phones to text friends, call people, shop, watch videos, and much more. One of the uses are also to tame entertain. If you give a child a phone, they will probably stop crying, and watch or play whatever they want. But are you sure that this the best way to make a child stop crying? These kind of actions can get the child addicted to electronics, and the child may even want their own phone. The average age for a child to get a smartphone is around 10 years old. But is this the right age?

From ages 3-7, a parent should definitely not give a child their own smartphone. They should even limit their screen time. This is because the brain is newly developing and could cause problems for the child in the future. “Smartphone use at a very young age is damaging to developing brains” (Stein). Screen time at a young age also limits the child's physical activity, which is really important if the child wants to be healthy both mentally and physically. The reason kids are so addicted to screens is because of the dopamine that is released from the child’s brain. Dopamine helps the child feel “good”, just like a drug.

Ages 10-12, a child should only have a phone to contact their parents or other emergency lines. This is because they are turning into the age where they could potentially be harmed by others or themselves. A quote by Cohen is that “If you don’t feel that your child is quite ready to be trusted with a smartphone, one option is to provide him with a phone that allows for calling and texting but not much else. One such device is Sprint’s “WeGo,” a child-friendly phone for 5- to 12-year-olds that features GPS tracking and allows you to program specific incoming and outgoing numbers. It includes a string that can be pulled to set off a panic alarm.”(Cohen). Your child should get an iPod, or another device that is pretty much for only contacting emergency lines. They should be limited to online access and social media because it could potentially harm their self- confidence and ego.

At ages 13- 15, the  child should start using online access. This is because they are at the age where they need to start learning about the real world and one of the easiest ways to get information is from the internet. Kids will also start having homework online and will have to check their computer constantly. Even though your child is starting to get more responsible, watch out for inappropriate websites. At this age, teenagers will start getting into pornography websites and content not suitable for young audiences. What you can do, is block all these kinds of websites. Try seeing your internet company for more help on that. Also, check your child’s browser history to make sure they are not doing anything you don’t want them to.

By the time your child is 15 or over, they should definitely have a phone since they are much more responsible than before, and they can control themselves over social media. They can learn to go to certain websites and are much more intelligent than before.

In the end, I believe that the healthiest and best choice would be to get your child a phone at the age of 13-14. This is because they start getting more and more independent and as they grow up they will need the help of social media and the internet. Even though this might be healthiest and best age, the generation of technology is arriving and kids might start begging for phones, as they will see other classmates have themes. In which this is the case, try to buy them a phone at at least the age of 10, as their brains will be more developed. “According to the latest research, on average, a child gets his or her first smartphone at 10.3 years old” (Curtin).

The author's comments:

I wrote this piece to inform society about a problem that had been going around for a long time.

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