Children and Smart Phones…
Recently a study came out that said 50% of UK ten year olds own a smart phone. This caused a lot of reactions on Twitter so I thought I’d add my two cents too.
I got my first phone when I was eleven and about to start secondary school (from my recollection anyway). My first phone was not ‘smart’, neither was my second or third. I didn’t get a proper smart phone, or what you could consider smart, until I was 15-ish and that was a Blackberry Curve – what a travesty of a phone!
Now I understand why you would want your child to have a phone – and I think 10 is about the right age for their first phone – but does it have to be smart? Really, I see a phone at that age as a way to let your parents know if there have been any changes to your day at school / after school / whatever. So when you don’t come home for dinner on time they know you got held up at maths club etc. This requires just text and call functions and, as a kid that had one of these phones, that’s all I used it for (as well as texting my friends of course). It eliminates any worry that could occur as it lets everyone know where they stand and what’s going on.
The issue I have is the ‘smart’ aspect of the phone. Going back to my old Blackberry, Blackberries had BBM. BBM was the messenger service as phones back then didn’t have the capability of phones now, including social medias, so these were the only ways you could communicate with people further a field when you ran out of credit. But on BBM people used to create chains, everyone had a specific ID and you would add your ID to this list, send it to your friends, then add the IDs that had been shared with you.
The issue with this was you had no idea who you were adding to your list. Thankfully it wasn’t giving your number out or any information like that so you still had some privacy but it wasn’t good. Young fifteen year old me could’ve been speaking to anyone and I wouldn’t have had a clue!
And I think this is part of the issue that we have today. As more kids get smart phones more kids are opening themselves up to connecting with more and more people. And, if the parent isn’t the most tech savvy, they could not even know!
I think it’s good for kids to have phones but I think they need to be properly educated. Add it into their PSHE day (are they even still a thing?) at school and let them know the value of being private and not sharing anything and everything online or on their phones. Smart phones don’t only open up a world where kids have their own number that they can give to anyone but also all the social media apps where they could see their favourite celebrities posting provocative photos and think they can do the same. You only have to scroll through TikTok for two seconds and you start questioning how old the girl is that is dancing provocatively to a rap song.
We shouldn’t be afraid of the future and holding back our teens and children from it, we should be better educated so that they don’t make mistakes that could ruin their lives or change their lives forever.
What do you think?
Until next time.