Should you really give a smartphone to your kid? That is the question!
Pros And Cons
As parents there are a lot of things we do to make our children happy. But, very often, we do not think enough about the consequences of these acts that make them glad. Will short-term pleasure be replaced by a plague or a long-term catastrophe? Philosophy has taught us to think before taking action. We should weigh the pros and cons of every one of our acts, of our gifts, of permissions we give. Providing your children with smartphones is a heavy responsibility and an act that has some consequences that we may find difficult to imagine but that we cannot ignore…
Safety Or Virtual Contact?
The first question to ask yourself is “what is the real need felt by my 8-year-old child when he asks for something new?” For example, when he asks you to buy him a smartphone is it to do as his friends or because he doesn’t want to feel different regarding to the others? Can owning this phone meet a real need such as filling insecurity when he’s away from home? Is it more practical for him to be able to make a phone call and let you know without borrowing a friend’s cell phone or going through his school reception? Is it to be able to surf on social networks or to watch videos more easily (than from a computer)? Is he looking for that kind of instantaneous information or for that long virtual contact that drives us all addicted? It’s a reality. We are all addicted to information sharing and to virtual contact. Let’s not kid ourselves!
Psychological and Health Effects
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies cell phones among the objects at high risk for children and even for us adults, because they emit too much radiation. Children, in this case, are more sensitive to these agents, which increases the risk of contracting diseases such as cancer! Don’t ignore that health dimension. All is not about the psychological side and effects!
What About A Regular Cell Phone?
That is why you should bypass your child’s request. It is normal and reassuring that he can call you if he is in an unsafe situation. But he can do it from a simple cell phone, no need to be connected to the Internet. I have this kind of old phone to receive calls from my practice office customers. Why? At the beginning I had a smartphone but my “overflowing” clients sent me photos, writings, notes from their private notebooks and then expected me to answer to their numerous messages! This occured for about three or four times in my first month of exercising! I was wasting precious time explaining to my clients why I couldn’t answer them (not my role, no time, no desire …) I therefore returned to the classic small foldable phone without the internet connected! I put it on my desk at the beginning of the session and I specify, pointing to my phone: “You see it’s my phone; it doesn’t receive photos or documents. It just receives calls. That’s exactly what a phone was made for!”
Let Him Manage The Call Credit
With your child under 16, it seems to me that the small foldable phone is a good compromise. It responds to the need to be able to call if a problem occurs, without becoming an addictive object. With a two hours call package, the child learns to manage his time by himself. If the bus is on strike and the cell phone no longer has credit to call and warn you, be sure the following month your child will pay attention to i!
Not A Devilish Tool But…
The smartphone is not a devilish tool in itself, but some children may misuse it or fail to limit their use.
It also leads to a screen overconsumption. The more you see the screens, the less you are anchored in real life. I am happy to have had a childhood without a smartphone, to discover with surprise who I was going to meet by going unexpectedly to the city library and above all I am happy to have left a part of my life random during my youth best years.
Predactors, Virtual Activities, Fake Links…
Pornography is easily accessible on a smartphone and no one is there to explain to your children that sexuality is not pornography! Not to mention this, there are some potentially shocking videos on the internet. These videos require, if they have been viewed, a real discussion with a special frame. By going on social networks, the child can be deceived, fall into the trap of bullying or think that he is in contact with very good people when he attracts predators to him.
Not A Real Bond
But above all, the smartphone offers so many virtual activities such as games, sports apps etc. that your child may no longer see the need to act in the real world. The brightness of the screen disturbs sleep. Being in constant contact with people you like takes away from the value of the physical link, the concrete link. I see many women in my office who are able to talk to their mothers for hours every day on the phone but unable to spend two days with them in the real world without wanting to gut them!
What About A Supervision?
The smartphone should not be demonized because it has its uses. A child can quickly revise a notion, look at the meaning of a word that he does not understand… The real problem iswhen he uses it outside home, unsupervised and under the influence of other children. It may happens.
To conclude, the question to ask yourself is about your alertness. Are we, parents, ready to be very vigilant as soon as our children have a smartphone in their hands or do we already know from the start that we will have neither the time nor the patience to assume our gift? Think about it!
If we do not have the patience or the time for vigilance at least at home, it is more reasonable to provide the child with a conventional telephone without an internet connection and to offer him to carry out his researches online on the family’s computer…
Beyond 16 years if the use of the smartphone is allowed, having a daily point with your child about what he could see on the net is essential. It is also necessary to leave the choice to the child or to the teenager to determine his real need before entering into major explanations…