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About Everything Wiki » Education » At what age should a child buy his first smartphone or phone and is it worth doing it at all

At what age should a child buy his first smartphone or phone and is it worth doing it at all

03 May 2023, 08:01, parser
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As soon as smartphones appeared in adults, as soon as the Internet and all kinds of applications appeared on these gadgets, children's pens immediately reached out to the achievements of technological progress: from chubby infants to tenacious teenagers.

Does your child need a smartphone?

I can bet that your child is already deftly controlled with a smartphone at the age of two and a half. Moreover, the kid does not just poke his finger on the screen, but already consciously clicks on the necessary icons. And naturally, parents now face a rather difficult question – at what age should a child buy a smartphone. I deliberately do not use the expression "mobile device". We are talking about a smartphone – fashionable, not cheap, with an abundance of functions and interesting "buns".

Time for change: opinion from the outside

Times change, and requests change with them. Modern teenagers are increasingly immersed in the world of tablets, smartphones and other gadgets. For example, according to Nielsen analysts, American teenagers aged 12 to 17 years are not yet a large, but a fast-growing group of smartphone users: from 33% in 2011 to 58% in 2012. Perhaps, in the realities of our country, the situation is not much different. The analytical agency Piper Jaffray claims that approximately 48% of American teenage users are owners of "Apple" gadgets, and more than 21% of respondents preferred Android devices.

But security experts are relentless. In their opinion, children under the age of 11 should not even get a regular "dialer". A phone with Internet access and a camera is an undesirable gadget for teenagers under the age of 13. Well, actually, you should not buy a smartphone for your child until they reach 15-16 years old.

But manufacturing companies do not pay attention to harsh experts and actively promote the opinion that a child simply cannot do without their products. For example, one manufacturer noted that his new laptop model lies perfectly on the lap of a child. And the waterproof and shockproof case of this gadget is simply created for distracted kids who are not particularly thrifty to new-fangled devices.

Actually, it is possible to understand both opposing sides. After all, on the one hand, a smartphone is not only useless surfing, but also the knowledge necessary in the modern world. The speed with which a child learns new technologies is very high. A first grader can figure out a smartphone much faster than an average adult with a technical education. And if you give children access to mobile devices, you can prepare them in advance for life in a world whose laws are determined by the development of these very technologies. Parents who do not allow children to contact gadgets risk depriving the child of a chance to quickly adapt to the IT world.

But on the other hand...

To buy your child a smartphone means to personally "untie his hands" and allow him not to study. Well, what kind of teenager wants to pore over cosines and tangents when you can go through the next level of your favorite game at any time, chat with friends or find some interesting applications for your gadget.

Caring for a child or indulging your own complexes?

If you really buy a phone for your child, then only the best (expensive, status, beautiful). Such an opinion is far from uncommon on various forums (usually women's), where parents try to decide by means of a social survey what exactly to give to a child: a regular phone or a super–stylish smartphone. The argument in favor of expensive "callers", as a rule, is the fact that, allegedly, without a fancy gadget, the kid in the society of peers will look flawed. And why, they say, spoil his psyche from an early age? And parents buy the best, and, most often, to the detriment of the family budget. The child is happy, everyone is happy. But if you dig deeper?.. Dear parents, aren't you struggling with your complexes, by the way? Are you projecting your fears onto a teenager? A phone for a first grader is a means of communication with relatives, nothing more. A gadget for a teenager 10-15 years old is surfing the Internet and virtual communication. A smartphone, whatever it is, should not become a means of self-affirmation. So why do you program deliberately false values in your child?

 

"If you really buy a phone for your child, then only the best (expensive, status, beautiful)"

 

Further, another aspect that worries parents is a kind of "departure from reality" and dependence on gadgets. It often becomes easier for a child to communicate with friends in the virtual world, it is easier for him to go back to Twitter or VKontakte than to go out into the yard and just say "Hello!" to a peer. Parents are sounding the alarm, trying to solve the problem using the carrot and stick method, turn to psychologists for help or open the usual forum again and scribble: "My son / daughter needs nothing but a smartphone! What to do?!".

I will not discover America if I say that if a child is raised by wolves, he will grow up as a cub. The emergence of dependence on a smartphone often lies in parental inattention. Have you ever wondered how a teenager will behave if his mother, instead of paying attention to him, does not tear herself away from her smartphone and sends messages every 10 minutes? How can a child adapt to society outside of his home if his father, after coming home from work, sits at the computer late at night, and during the whole evening he utters, at best, a couple of words? Children copy your behavior and project your model of the world onto themselves. Therefore, before buying your offspring an expensive gadget, think about whether you can cope with such responsibility? Blaming others, modern technology and the child himself is much easier than finding flaws in yourself.

You can't wait to buy

According to psychologists, a new-fangled smartphone is practically useless for a schoolboy (6-15 years old). After all, apart from surfing the Internet during school classes or passing the next level of a popular toy, he will not do anything useful with a smartphone. And no one knows how the passage of the Angry Birds game can be useful in life. A child, by the way, may lose an expensive gadget. Most often this happens: 1 out of 5 schoolchildren loses their phone about once every 2 months. In addition, a child's smartphone can be banally stolen. Here's another plus of the lack of an expensive device – a teenager will not become a target of a criminal.

For some reason, it is common for most parents to simplify the solution of problems. Let's say the son said that it's a shame to appear in class without a smartphone. So why try to convince a child that he will not look like a "sucker" without a fashionable device? Why understand the reasons for the appearance of infantilism, complexes and herd feelings? Why try to help? After all, it's easier to write off everything as "it's customary for children" and solve the problem with money.

All the stories that due to the lack of a smartphone, the baby in the general flock will look like a "black sheep" are far-fetched. Because fashion is fleeting, and quite simple ways to "screw up" are always at hand. If a child is not a leader in fact, if he is weak and gives up in front of classmates, then no, even the most expensive and newfangled smartphone will save him. It may sound a bit harsh, but it is.

And yes, I think that a regular phone, the same mobile device with the function of receiving calls and sending SMS, is definitely necessary for a child. Starting from the age when you decide to let him go for a walk alone, unattended. And how do you feel about the topic of raising a child in the era of rapidly developing modern technologies?
Ivan Luchkov, RevolverLab.com — specially for Lifehacker.ru

Photo: Shutterstock

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