Seven Pros and Cons of Children Using Smartphones
Children and smartphones are interacting from an increasingly early age. It's up to parents to decide when to let them start using them, evaluating the advantages and disadvantages. We'll tell you more.
Have you ever wondered what are the pros and cons of smartphone use in children from an early age? In that case, don’t worry, because below we0ll tell you everything you need to know about it.
Cell phones play an increasingly important role in children’s lives. Parents, educators, psychologists, technologists, advertisers, manufacturers, and retailers have different opinions on the subject. Do you want to know whether or not you should introduce a smartphone into your children’s lives?
What Is a Smartphone?
A smartphone is a type of phone with greater connectivity, capacity to store data and facilities than a conventional mobile phone. It’s basically a pocket computer.
Much has been discussed regarding the excessive use of smartphones during childhood and from an increasingly early age. Should it or should it not be allowed? In order to make the best decision, you must analyze the advantages and disadvantages and decide what’s best for your children and family dynamics.
Read this article: Four Negative Effects of Cell Phone Use That You Did Not Know
The Advantages of Children Using Smartphones
Although technology can contribute to various aspects of development, it’s important to be well informed about how to use it appropriately. Therefore, you need to know the advantages of using electronic devices in childhood.
1. Smartphones are part of our reality
We live in a technologically-marked era, so not letting a child have access to a smartphone can be contradictory. After all, how do you explain to children that smartphones can be harmful if you allow them to play with computers and tablets or if you use them yourself?
2. It’s an opportunity to gain more knowledge
After class, smartphone use guided by teachers can drive children to look up information on the subject. This allows children to learn how to use educational tools by searching for information of interest in the assignment and promotes thorough research instead of mere plagiarism.
Thus, and as this study published in Suma de Negocios points out, the smartphone provides more and more benefits that can be used in the teaching-learning process.
3. They can help promote safety and contact
It’s really a plus that parents can use their cell phone to get in touch with their children by knowing how and where they are in the event of an emergency. Most cell phones are equipped with GPS systems, which allows parents to track their cellphone and thus know where their child is.
4. It encourages responsibility
When parents allow their children to use smartphones, it can be a way to teach them how to be responsible. This is not only with taking care of the cell phone, but also with the time and the usage of the device.
And this, as pointed out in this article carried out by professionals from the University of Navarra (Spain), is in the hands of the education that parents and educators provide in this regard.
5. They can easily access learning tools
Smartphones can help children use calendars in order to know the dates of exams, take voice notes to remember something of interest, as well as saving phone numbers of their parents, teachers, and friends. They can also take a picture of an outline on the whiteboard, which will help them learn.
The Disadvantages of Children Using Smartphones
Of course, these phones aren’t all beneficial. There are also shadows, risks, and dangers behind the usage of smartphones. Here are some disadvantages of introducing children into the world of technology at a young age.
1. Using Smartphones affects children’s fine motor skills
A child needs to learn to hold a pencil and learn to write before he can use a smartphone. The grip they perform with their index finger and thumb is one of the fundamental milestones of every child’s psychomotor development, although more research is needed at the moment.
2. It encourages social isolation.
Like video games, the constant use of a smartphone leads to social isolation. A child may play, surf the internet, interact in social media, but not truly communicate with the people around them. And so says this study published in Politics and Society. Developing social skills is an important part of their development.
Check out this article, too: Nomophobia: Cellphone Addiction
3. It promotes low-level mobility and more childhood obesity
The excessive usage of smartphone leaves children sitting on a piece of furniture or lying in bed all the time. The lack of physical activity has serious repercussions for the quality of life of children.
Don’t let your child fall victim to childhood obesity!
4. There’s a loss of privacy
Smartphones have all the tools that can keep a record of everyday life. Your child can take photos and make videos that can be shared in all kinds of social media. Their life may become focused on getting a “a like”, a comment or getting followers. People’s privacy is exposed, which can have serious complications such as the ones below.
5. They may become a victim or perpetrator of cyber crimes
The uncontrolled use of cell phones expose children to cyberbullying or sexual predators. A child may mistakenly post an intimate picture or video and be a victim of harassment.
On the other hand, they may take a picture or share the private content of another child and harass them, as evidenced by this work carried out by researchers at the University of Navarra.
Keep a close watch on your child’s cell phone usage.
What Should Parents Do?
The range of advantages and disadvantages of children using smartphones is extensive. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of parents to monitor their children’s usage of their devices and access to the internet. There are many applications for monitoring your child’s smartphone usage. All you have to do is be informed, evaluate, and decide what’s best for your kids.
It is also important that we accompany them throughout the digital education process. We need to be there, attentive and present, and know what children are doing, what content they are visiting and what they are sharing. In the right hands, smartphones can be a wonderful tool.