Younger Kids And Cell Phones

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Is it OK to Let Younger Kids have a Cell Phone?

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Cell phones are everywhere. These days, just about everyone and their great grandma has a smartphone tucked away in a pocket or bag. As adults, we spend a huge amount of time on our cell phones: chatting to friends, checking email, or playing online games, so it is not surprising that kids want the same privileges.

A study conducted by a coupon brand provider in the U.S. found that 53% of kids owned a cell phone by the age of 7. In days gone by, kids this young would not have owned any gadgets, let alone a cell phone, so it is interesting to see how technology has changed things. But is it good for kids to have a cell phone so young, or should we, as responsible parents, restrict their usage on the grounds that we don’t know what the long-term health risks are?

Why Your Child Needs a Cell Phone

The main reason why parents let younger children have cell phones is to help them keep in touch. Lots of children play outdoors with friends or take part in extra curricular activities. If a child has a cell phone they can call a parent and request a lift home, or let their parent know if they are going to be late home. Cell phones help to keep the lines of communication open, and if anything goes wrong, a cell phone’s GPS technology can be used to pinpoint the location of where a child is.

The Dangers of Cell Phone Usage in the Younger Generation

Cell phones are not without their risks. Giving a child unfettered access to the internet via a smartphone is a recipe for disaster unless you are willing to take some responsibility for the device. Younger children are particularly vulnerable to inappropriate contact from adults and older teens, so it is wise to monitor use of the device and install filters if appropriate.

Kids are also vulnerable to bullying and peer pressure through social media and online apps. Many parents are oblivious to the dangers presented by social media websites such as Facebook. There may be an age limit of 13 on Facebook, but an awful lot of younger children set up profiles and become active members. Unfortunately, younger kids can become targets for online predators and pedophiles when they use these sites, so it is vital that parents keep a close eye on what children are doing on their smartphones.

Prevent High Cell Phone Bills

Another problem that can sometimes arise from giving a cell phone to a child is the possibility they will run up a huge bill. The best way to prevent this from happening is to restrict their usage. You may be able to arrange a cap on phone calls or data usage with the cell phone company, so check before you take out a contract.

Cell phones can be expensive, so if you are struggling to pay the bills but your family needs a cell phone, check out the freegovernmentcellphone.net program for people with financial difficulties.

Photo Credit:  abc7chicago.com