5 Reasons Preteens Shouldn’t Have Smartphones

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[button link=”#” color=”D” shape=”rounded” size=”small” align=”center”]Guest Post[/button]

SmartPhones "Phone 5" fake iPhone 5

Smartphones are all the rage these days and it seems like almost everyone has one. Since smartphones are so popular, it is common for children to want one of their own. While it may be tempting to get your child what they want, is it really in their best interest? Here are a few reasons that preteens shouldn’t have smartphones.

Less Face Time

When children are developing, they need a great deal of face time with their parents in order to develop like they should. Face time with families has decreased from an average of 26 hours a week in 2007 to an average of 18 hours per week in 2010. This reduces the amount of time that children have to interact with their parents and develop properly. Children need positive role models and positive examples. If they are simply staring at a smartphone all the time, then they may not be getting what they need.

More Access to Predators

Sexual predators are more prevalent now than ever before. Individuals who prey on little children spend all of their free time online looking for their next victim. If your child has a smartphone, he or she may be spending time on chat rooms or social media sites and connecting with these sexual predators. They may think that they are talking to another child or someone they can trust. If they set up a meeting with this person outside of your supervision, it could be a huge problem.

Compulsive Texting

One of the big problems that could develop from having a smartphone is compulsive texting. Many children who have smartphones learn that they can text message their friends and then they want to do nothing else. They always want to read their latest text messages and respond to them right away. If you don’t let them get their hands on a smartphone, then they won’t develop this addiction at an early age.

Cheating in School

Another issue that many parents have to deal with when they give their child a smart phone is cheating in school. When a child has a device that allows them to easily communicate with others, they can use it to get the answers to a test. For instance, they can quickly text message one of their friends outside of class so that they can look up an answer for them. This can lead to suspension, detention, or even expulsion from school. If the smartphone was not present in this situation, then that issue would have never come up.

Health Risks

Since cell phones are still kind of new in society, the health risks of them are not fully known yet. A number of studies have led to some questions about how healthy it is for a child to be talking on a cell phone regularly. The cell phone lets off a certain amount of radiation and can cause tumors or other growths inside the body. If the child is subjected to this type of radiation frequently, it could lead to a number of health risks later on in life.

In most cases, it is best to wait until your child reaches 16 or higher before they get a smartphone. Use your best judgement, but giving them one too early can lead to issues.

Cindy Jarvis has been a middle school teacher for the past 6 years and enjoys writing on topics that appeal to the age group she teaches, their parents, or other teachers. She also helped to create “How To Become A Middle School Teacher” for others interested in becoming an educator in middle school.


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10 thoughts on “5 Reasons Preteens Shouldn’t Have Smartphones

  1. sarah p

    I am so thankful that I am not the only one out there that feels this way. Thanks for passing along the message with some very valid points! I know a ten year old that has a phone…I just can’t wrap my head around it.

    Reply
  2. Lesley M.

    Thank you for this post. I agree with everything you said. Today’s teens just dont understand face to face communication. I have a teaching background and the number of kids who can’t spell either, because they use abbreviations (CU L8R, etc) to text is astounding. Hopefully, more parents read this article. Thanks again!

    Reply
  3. Jennifer @ Geek Chic Mama

    Mobile technology in general can lead to excess – it’s the same reason that we weren’t allowed computers/electronics in our rooms waaaay back in the day (ok, the 90’s, but it’s crazy how that’s becoming further in the past….). Laptops, ipods, gameboys, anything that a kid has with them constantly can cause issues.

    Reply
  4. Kate F.

    I totally agree that pre-teens shouldn’t have smartphones. I’m shocked by how attached my six year old nephew is to his parents’ iPhones. I don’t spend nearly as much time on my smartphone as he does on theirs.

    Reply
  5. Wendy Elliott Lindsey

    I work in a middle school and can’t get over how many students have smart phones. I don’t even have one! It’s crazy to think their parents spend that kind of money on them for something so unessential. Fortunately, they’re not allowed to use them during the day. They have to stay in their lockers, turned off.

    Reply
  6. Mike Jennings

    I heard these same arguments about computers when I was a kid; eventually all the arguments moved from whether the kid should have one to how to make them use it right. I don’t think denying them the technology does anything to help them learn to find balance. These phones are going to be a fact of life whether you deny them now or not. When they finally get one, they will be completely glued to the thing as the novelty hasn’t worn off. Kids ned to know how to use it safely as a tool, and how to maintain balance with other life skills. They need to learn to live with its presence in their lives, like a car or any other dangerously powerful tool.

    And I disagree that they’re fundamentally unessential. Just because kids spend most of the time on them doing things that aren’t essential doesn’t mean that they can’t be essential. My fifth grader just submitted his recitation of a Hamlet soliloquy for an assignment to his teacher using video, email and YouTube, all excellent applications for mobile technology. Again, I think whether they use it for good not evil is a parental management issue.

    Moreover, it may put them at a disadvantage versus other kids who use the phone for legitimate purposes for school — even once you cave it and let them get one, they won’t really understand the technology and how it can be used as a tool for some time. Worse, they’ll be using it incorrectly at a really bad time (like when driving).

    I’m conflicted about this issue, but to me the question is more about how you teach them to manage it. Rules and restrictions, safety (chat-room awareness, and for God’s sake disable GPS tagging on the mobile photos!), good habits, etiquette (e.g. no phones at the dinner table). I’m looking for software that can enforce such habits, like a messaging client that does not allow them to respond immediately to texts, or restricts app use during certain times of the day.

    Actually, I’m wondering if the predator-in-the-chat-room argument is an irrelevant holdover from the desktop PC days. Does anyone chat with unknown persons on a mobile phone? Seems to me that interaction with strangers on a mobile phone is nonrealtime, i.e. on tumblr or instagram. These fora are not as attractive to predators because they’re not realtime, they’re not really anonymous or private, there’s a paper trail, etc. — way too risky, with little reward. Does anyone have any evidence that phones can be and are being used this way? (I guess Chat Roulette might be an exception, but there’s no legitimate use for it and so it’s safe to have some kind of parental enforcement.)

    As a final note, there’s one more parental upside to kids having smartphones besides keeping them quiet on long drives: You will completely own their soul. If you have a way to physically remove or electronically disable the phone, you have the most effective punishment or positive incentive imaginable.

    Reply

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