“People have described my proposal to ban smartphones for kids as mad, but why would we want children to have unsupervised access to the Internet? I predict most of my ‘far-out’ ideas will be the norm before long.”
Steve Hilton, Businessman
Pros and Cons of Smartphones for Kids
In our current state of the world, many kids get a smartphone at a rather young age. Parents often feel obliged to buy their kids a smartphone since many of their friends have smartphones as well.
However, apart from the advantages of smartphones for children, there are also some problems related to them. In this article, the pros and cons of smartphones for kids are examined in detail.
Advantages of Buying your Kid a Smartphone
- Smartphones can give your kids better education opportunities
- Your children will be available all day long
- You can change plans in a quite flexible manner
- Real-time communication with your kid possible
- You can instruct your kid with the help of smartphones
- Tutoring over phone becomes possible
- Smartphones can help in case your kid gets lost
- Learning about technology is important for your kid’s future
- Important for kids in order not to get socially excluded in school
- Can make it easier to organize family life
- You can block unwanted content
- You can track your child through geo-tracking
Smartphones can give your kids better education opportunities
One important advantage of smartphones for kids is that they give your children the opportunity to educate themselves in various different areas. There are so many helpful videos and articles out there that aim to make you an expert in the respective topic.
Hence, the internet provides us with great education opportunities and it is quite easy for your children to access those resources with their smartphones.
Thus, if you want to make sure that your children have the best access to valuable education opportunities, buying your children a smartphone may be a good idea as long as the smartphone is really used for educational purposes.
Your children will be available all day long
Getting your kid a smartphone can also give you the opportunity to contact your child all day long. In fact, in case you want to talk to your kid, you can do so while your kid is on the way back from school or on several other occasions throughout the day.
In general, if your kid has a smartphone, it becomes much easier to contact him or her and you don’t have to solely rely on personal conversations anymore.
You can change plans in a quite flexible manner
Another benefit of buying your kid a mobile phone is that you can change your plans in a rather flexible manner. For instance, if you planned to pick up your kid from school at a certain time but something unexpected makes it impossible for you to do so, you can inform your kid and make alternative plans.
All this would not be possible if your kid had no cell phone. Consequently, buying your child a smartphone can also give you much more flexibility in various parts of your life.
Real-time communication with your kid possible
Smartphones also give us the opportunity for real-time communication. This is quite convenient since you will not only be able to speak to your kid through voice, but you can also make video calls. This can be quite nice, especially if your kid misses you and wants to see your face.
For instance, if your kid currently on a field trip in school and your kid becomes homesick, you may want to make a video call and make your kid feel much better.
You can instruct your kid with the help of smartphones
Another upside of getting your kid a smartphone is that it can also be used to instruct your kid in various different ways. For instance, say you gave your child the task to cook for the whole family at home while you are still at work.
If your kid has a question, he or she can simply contact you through a video call and you can give your kid step-by-step instructions on how to proceed if your kid gets stuck at a certain task.
In turn, the chances for success and for a good meal will increase significantly. This is not only true for cooking, but for various other tasks your kid might need help and video calls through smartphones are a great way to solve problems.
Tutoring over phone becomes possible
While tutoring in person is still the standard in most countries all over the world, an increasing number of tutoring sessions will be held via video calls and smartphones. This can be quite convenient since the tutor does no longer has to come to your home and can save plenty of time.
This kind of education can also be senseful if your kid is a little bit sick and you don’t want to put the tutor at risk to get infected as well. Hence, even though tutoring in person may be more efficient, tutoring via smartphone may also be a valid alternative under certain circumstances.
Smartphones can help in case your kid gets lost
Some children also have a pretty bad sense of direction. Especially if they are new at school at other institutions, they may not find their way back home and might get lost somewhere. In such a case, getting your kid a smartphone can be quite convenient since your child can simply call you and ask you to pick him or her up.
This can be an easy solution to a serious problem and we should be quite thankful for this opportunity. Hence, if your kid is a candidate to get lost sooner or later, smartphones can be a real blessing to find him or her quite easily.
Learning about technology is important for your kid’s future
We live in a world where technological progress is faster than ever. In fact, the technology that has been invented over the past decades is astounding and nobody knows how the future will look like. However, one thing is for sure: Technological progress will become even faster and we all have to adapt to those changes in a proper manner.
Otherwise, we will become obsolete in the workforce and will end up unemployed sooner or later. Hence, it is also extremely important that our kids learn about these technologies from a young age so that they will not be lost later on in their lives.
One way to educate your kids about these technologies is to buy them a smartphone so that they can learn about technology in a playful but yet effective manner.
Important for kids in order not to get socially excluded in school
Having a smartphone is almost standard for children in many countries on our planet. Hence, if your kid is the only one in class who doesn’t have a smartphone yet, chances are that your kid may get socially excluded in school.
Therefore, if you want that your kid stays popular in class, chances are that you should get your child a smartphone sooner or later.
Can make it easier to organize family life
Buying your kid a smartphone can also make the overall family life much easier. Parents can contact their children all day long and can change their plans in a more flexible manner. Your children can educate themselves by accessing the internet through their smartphones and can use their time as efficiently as possible.
For instance, if your kid uses public transport to get back home from school, he or she can use this time for research regarding his or her homework instead of just waiting and wasting this commuting time.
Hence, when your kid gets home, your child will already have an idea of how to solve his or her homework in a proper manner. In turn, this also implies that you as a parent will also have less work in this regard and can use your time in a more joyful manner.
You can block unwanted content
In order to protect your kid from certain unwanted adult content on the internet, you can also block certain sites. In fact, there are even programs out there that give you the opportunity to manage the sites that are accessible for your child in a rather easy manner. Hence, you can protect your kids from certain dangers that might be present on the internet.
You can track your child through geo-tracking
If you want to track your kid due to various different reasons, you can also do so using a tracking app. This allows you to track where your kid will go to and you will get better control over your kid.
However, note that this might not be healthy at all and even though you will have better control, your kid will not be too happy about it.
Thus, you may rather want to trust your kid instead of tracking every movement through one of those tracking apps.
Disadvantages of Smartphones for Kids
- Adult content is a problem on the web
- Your kid may lose his or her smartphone
- Your kid may get robbed
- Smartphone addiction is a problem
- Your child may also use his smartphone during class
- Lack of attention
- Grades may get worse
- Your child may no longer want to play outside
- Smartphones may alter the brain of your children
- May lead to significant costs
- Can contribute to sleep deprivation
- Smartphones for kids may contribute to obesity
- Mental issues related to smartphone use
- Children may replace real-life with virtual relationships
- Family members may spend less time together
- Cyberbullying is a problem
- Children may use it to cheat in school
- You have to educate your kids about the dangers of smartphones
- Privacy concerns
- Handling issues for young kids
- Unclear long-term health effects
Adult content is a problem on the web
Apart from the numerous important advantages of smartphones for kids, there are still also some downsides related to buying your kid a smartphone. For instance, one significant problem of getting your kid a smartphone is that there is a lot of adult content out there on the web and your kid may access those sites.
In turn, this can lead to issues in the mental development of your kid. Although there are programs that aim to block those sites, nothing is perfect and your child may still find ways to game these sorts of software. Hence, if you want to protect your kid from seeing this adult content, buying your child a smartphone may not be the best way to go for you.
Your kid may lose his or her smartphone
Children are often in a rush and don’t take too much care about their belongings. This is also true when it comes to smartphones. Thus, many kids will lose their smartphones over time and especially in case you bought your kid a smartphone that was quite expensive, this may annoy you quite a lot.
Hence, if your kid frequently loses things, you may either not want to buy your kid a smartphone or you want to buy a rather cheap one instead.
Your kid may get robbed
In some countries, your kid may also get robbed and may lose his or her smartphone due to those robberies. Although this is not quite common in most countries, there are still regions of our planet that are rather unsafe and in order to protect your kid against those attacks, you may not want to buy your child a smartphone if you live in one of those unsafe regions.
Smartphone addiction is a problem
Smartphone addiction has also become a serious issue, not only for adults but also for kids. In fact, many kids spend numerous hours a day with their smartphones and don’t want to do other things anymore.
This can lead to serious problems since for a healthy development of your kid, your child has to do various different things instead of just looking at his or her smartphone all day long.
Therefore, if you want to buy your kid a smartphone, make sure that you limit the time your kid is allowed to spend with these devices in order to prevent any kind of smartphone addiction.
Your child may also use his smartphone during class
Another disadvantage of smartphones for kids is that children may use their smartphones in school during classes. In fact, many children may just play a game on their smartphone instead of following lessons in school.
In turn, those children may not learn too much in school and this lack of education may translate into various other problems later on in their lives.
Lack of attention
In general, children who own a smartphone often also suffer from a serious lack of attention in various parts of their lives. While this may be rather harmless if your kid sits on the couch and play with his or her smartphone, it may lead to dangerous situations regarding traffic accidents.
If your kid no longer pays proper attention while he or she crosses the street, chances are that your child will get involved in a traffic accident sooner or later which would not have happened without a smartphone.
Therefore, make sure that you educate your kid about the dangers of smartphone use in order to protect your kid from those accidents.
Grades may get worse
Many parents also experience that the grades of their kids have got worse as a result of buying their kids a smartphone. This is often due to the fact that children play too much on their smartphones and do not use it for educational purposes too much.
Hence, getting your child a smartphone can also have detrimental effects on your kid’s education in case the smartphone is not used for educational purposes but rather to play certain games all day long.
Your child may no longer want to play outside
Children often also have plenty of energy and children need a certain level of physical exercise in order to stay healthy in a physical but also in a mental manner.
However, many children in our nowadays society spend long hours playing games on their phones and chatting with their friends instead of actually going outside and playing some sports.
In turn, the chances for several health problems increases significantly.
Smartphones may alter the brain of your children
Some scientists even claim that the excessive smartphone use of kids can also alter the brain of children in a profound manner. In fact, if quite young children use their smartphones in an excessive manner, chances are that those children will experience learning difficulties and also other problems related to the processing of information.
May lead to significant costs
You should also not underestimate the costs related to buying your kid a smartphone. You should not only factor in the initial purchase price, you should also think about the monthly costs for the smartphone contract.
Moreover, your kid may download smartphone games which may lead to significant additional costs. Hence, make sure that you are willing to spend some money before deciding to get your kid a smartphone.
Can contribute to sleep deprivation
Another downside of smartphones for children is that they can also lead to serious sleep deprivation or even insomnia. In fact, many children spend long hours with their smartphones and may also watch videos or chat with their friends late at night. In turn, those children may experience serious sleeping problems since their brain will no longer be able to determine when it is time to sleep.
Hence, if your notice that your kid looks tired on a constant basis, you may want to take away his or her smartphone and see if the sleeping pattern of your kid gets better.
Smartphones for kids may contribute to obesity
Since children who have smartphones are less likely to play outside, chances are that these children will also be at a higher risk to develop serious overweight or even obesity. In fact, in our current state of the world, many children are obese and the problem tends to get worse over time.
This not only has significant negative effects for those children, but also for our society as a whole since the medical treatment of obesity can be quite costly.
Mental issues related to smartphone use
Over time, many children who use their smartphones in an excessive manner may also develop serious mental issues. Some children become addicted to their smartphones. In turn, those children often neglect their social contacts and may just live in the virtual world.
However, this will not be healthy in most cases and in the long run, scientists estimate that the number of mental issues of those kids will increase significantly over time.
Children may replace real-life with virtual relationships
In general, if children use their smartphones in an excessive manner, chances are that they will no longer meet their friends in real life and may rather spend their time in forums or other virtual places. In the long run, this can lead to serious social isolation, which can lead to additional mental problems for those kids.
Family members may spend less time together
Another downside of buying your kid a smartphone is that it might also have a negative effect on the time you spend together as a family. For instance, while many families played parlor games or watched TV together just a few decades ago, children in our current state of the world rather play with their smartphones instead of playing games with their family members.
Thus, if your family life is quite important to you, getting your kid a smartphone may not be the best idea in this regard.
Cyberbullying is a problem
Another problem with smartphones for kids is cyberbullying. In fact, bullying often does no longer take place in person, but rather on the internet. Many children are bullied over social media or over other virtual channels.
Hence, also make sure that your kid will not become victim to bullying activities over the internet or that you take appropriate measures in such a case.
Children may use it to cheat in school
Many children are clever and will soon figure out that smartphones are also a great tool to cheat in school. In fact, you can create certain groups in which students can share their solutions to tests in real-time and if the teacher is not aware of what’s going on, chances are that these cheating methods can be quite effective.
You have to educate your kids about the dangers of smartphones
Since there are so many dangers out there on the internet, you will also have to take some time and educate your kid about those issues in case you want to buy your kid a smartphone. Only then will your child be prepared for those things and can avoid them as best as possible.
Privacy concerns are another big issue when it comes to buying your kid a smartphone. However, this is not only a problem for your kid, but also for yourself. In fact, most of us don’t know where our data will end up and therefore, not only our kids, but also we as adults should take great care regarding when we want to use our smartphones.
Handling issues for young kids
Especially quite young children may also have some handling issues with their smartphones. In the beginning, they will often not be able to understand how to use it in an efficient manner and you may have to spend some time to show your kids how to use their smartphone.
Unclear long-term health effects
While we all use our smartphones quite often, still quite little is known about the true long-term health effects of smartphone use. Hence, not only our kids, but also we as adults should be quite careful and not use our smartphones in an excessive manner in order to avoid serious long-term health effects in the future.
Top 10 Smartphones for Kids Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Smartphones for Kids Pros||Smartphones for Kids Cons|
|Smartphones for kids can make your life easier||Smartphones for children can be expensive|
|Can help you to organize your family life||Adult content can be a problem|
|May give kids better education opportunities||Your kid may lose the smartphone|
|You can reach your kids all day long||Smartphone addiction is a problem among kids|
|You can track your kids with a smartphone||Smartphones for kids can lead to obesity|
|May help to instruct your kid||Your kid may lose his smartphone|
|You may be able to block unwanted content||Can lead to sleeping problems|
|Tutoring over phone may be possible||Family members may spend less time together|
|Real-time video communication||Social isolation|
|You can change your mind easily||Unclear long-term effects|
Should You Get Your Child A Smartphone?
As we have seen before, there are various advantages and disadvantages of buying your kid a smartphone. In my opinion, while you should get your child a smartphone at a certain age, you should still take great care to protect your kid from adult content and also from excessive use in order to minimize the problems related to smartphone use.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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