Pros and Cons of Cell Phones for Kids
In a Niche survey of more than 800 users, 77% of students got their first cell phone between the ages of 10 and 17, with only 1% reporting having never had one.
Cell phones are not just for adults anymore. There’s a lot to weigh when it comes to getting phones for kids, including everything from money to cyberbullying. Here are some things to consider.
Benefits of Cell Phones for Kids
Convenience is definitely one of the biggest perks when it comes to buying kids cell phones. When it comes to age, parents will want to consider whether a kid can handle the responsibility, which could depend on the individual (one 10-year-old is not like the other). If a child is involved in a lot of activities and the parents can’t always take them to said activities, a cell phone can be a godsend when coordinating schedules and pickup times.
A cell phone can also be a touchstone in times of crisis. If a questionable situation arises at a child’s school, parents are able to reach their children via the cell phone. Or, if children feel they are in a dangerous situation, the cell phone can be a lifeline, too.
So given the benefits, cell phones can be helpful to a variety of age groups. Typically, as long as a kid can speak and spell (for texting), a cell phone can work with a child.
Drawbacks of Cell Phones for Kids
Even though there are many gains to giving a child a cell phone, there are just as many drawbacks. One big one is the prevalence of bullying. Technology can facilitate this behavior even more since the Internet enables users to comment anonymously and post messages that stay up “forever.” Giving a kid a private cell phone makes it that much easier for them to be a victim of torment — or even torment others — online.
Thirty-four percent of Niche high school and college students report having been through five or more cell phones in their lifetime, which means cell phones are being used at a very young age.
Finally, besides the emotional and physical consequences, giving a cell phone to a child or teenager may also foster a dependence on technology that can be unhealthy, and even get them into trouble in class, since many phones in school are prohibited.
Benefits and Consequences of Cell Phones for Kids
Benefit Helps keep in touch/coordinate schedules
Consequence Could encourage bullying
Benefit Can be a lifeline in times of trouble
Consequence Early use could affect their physical well-being
Benefit Can encourage independence
Consequence Can foster unhealthy dependence on technology
The Bottom Line
There’s no correct age for a child or teenager to get a cell phone. Buying one depends on a variety of factors and situations. However, parents and guardians should make sure they know the facts and possible consequences before providing their children with a very adult device.
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