Are Smartphones Today Bad For Your Kiddos?
We’re living in an era when the unmitigated access to information is just a tap away and it’s definitely reshaping our world. While the previous generations considered themselves fortunate just to have a large, slow desktop computer with limited and highly expensive internet access, nowadays practically every household owns several mobile devices that connect wirelessly and at tremendous speeds.
At the same time, the internet has evolved considerably since the days of yore when 56 kbps modems were our only gateways to the information superhighway.
Photo credits: indyweek.com
In the light of these facts, it’s only natural to ask yourself whether our children are ready for the fast paced technological world.
Before we begin, I would like to point out that I believe there are several innate dangers proprietary to every civilization that evolves faster from a technological standpoint than from a moral one. To be precise, the inability to exercise caution and restraint over our behavior in conjunction with the vastly unrestricted and growing capabilities stemming from technological advances constitutes a dangerous mix. But that’s a debate for another day, so let’s get back to the topic at hand.
Pro: It ensures easy access to a wide array of educational resource
Now, I’m not as naive as to think that, when my son asks me for the latest Samsung Galaxy model so he can “study and read”, he doesn’t have an ulterior motive. Sure, he is going to surf the social networks, sure he’s going to spend a lot of time browsing Google Play for the latest games. BUT, at the same time, with the proper guidance, he can learn how to utilize the vast resources of the online environment to find the information he needs for school assignments. I believe that learning how to search for info on a certain topic and dissociate between the unreliable sources is a mandatory skill for the future generation.
Con: Children might not be able to recognize potential dangers
As a result of the trial and error process, most of us mastered the art of not opening strange email attachments, refraining from handing out credit card information to just any website that asks for it, staying away from the “sexy singles in your area that are dying to meet you” ads, so on and so forth. On the other hand, children tend to be more gullible because they lack the experience to correctly catalogue potential threats. Handing a top of the line smartphone to a small child without setting the proper filters and teaching him about the important utilization guidelines could turn out to be a costly mistake.
Pro: It’s a great way to teach children responsibility (without killing the family pet)
This argument works under the assumption that you, as a parent, are not readily conceding to all your child’s demands. In other words, you will have to let your child know that he’s not entitled to receive another smartphone if he doesn’t take good care of his current one or in the event that he destroys or ruins it. I personally have seen a forum tread where kids advise their peers on ways to break their current outdated phone inconspicuously so they’d get a more modern replacement. Don’t fall for their “little” tricks!
Con: Top of the line gadgets cost a small fortune
Naturally, your child won’t ask for last year’s model when all his friends own the latest iPhone 5. It’s like when you crying to your parents back in the day that you simply can’t go outside wearing sneakers that don’t light up because it was the latest fad.
The problem is that you son or daughter won’t understand the subtle differences between the smartphone models that often comprise of a little extra computing power or a slightly tweaked interface. They don’t understand it’s all a marketing ploy, kids just know that “if you love them, you’ll buy the one they want”, while Apple or Samsung CEOs are rubbing their hands with glee.
Technology, or in this case smartphones, are not inherently good or bad; it depends almost entirely on the purpose for which they’re utilized. If you want to buy your child a top of the line phone or – why not, tablet – then you should also give them a crash course on the responsibilities these devices imply. Otherwise, there is a world of problems that stand to arise from the miniature gateway to the online world.