Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pros and Cons of a child having a cellphone?

Every child and situation is different when it comes to whether or not your child should have a cellphone. I know right now that my son is too young for one but that has not stopped him from asking for one at the age of 6.  I see a lot of kids at my sons bus stop with their cell phones. Most are older, maybe 4th and 5th graders, and most of the ones I see seem to be responsible with them and turn them off when the bus comes. There are a few that wait until the last second to turn off the music it is playing and put them away. I wonder about what the school feels about the more kids with phones. And if it has put yet another distraction in front of the child that they could really do without. It almost feels like kids are growing up too fast now and that by giving them this technology we are enabling them to do so even faster. Below are some results done by Retrevo, which studies how people use technology in everyday life.

When it comes down to it each parent must weigh the pros and cons of weather they feel their child is old enough and responsible to have a phone. The phone can be a great tool to have to stay connected to your child and to also help with any safety issues if they were to arise. It adds an extra security for when you can't be with your child.  It is undisputed about the benefits of having a cell phone when in an emergency situations. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 74 percent of Americans say they’ve used a cell phone in an emergency.  Most parents today never had a cell phone when they were younger so the rules are new to them. Some of the questions that possibly should be asked before getting your child a phone should be:
  • Respect their belongings?
  • Show responsibility?
  • Are they home alone?
  • Participate in after school activities?
  • Waiting for you because you are running late?
  • Respect the rules at school and other places?
If the answers are mainly yes then maybe a phone might be a good thing to look into for your child. Having a phone won't replace adult supervision and as with all technology in a child's hand it should be monitored to make sure it is being used correctly.

Some of the cons of having letting your teen have a phone are:
  • Mental Health -
  • Bullying
  • Lack of sleep
  • Possible cancer risks and  "digital thumb"
To help with some of these issues most cellphone companies have packages that help when you have a young child online. Many offer parental controls (if your child has the right phone) and they fall into three main categories:
  • Content Filters – these allow the parent to set what media can be viewed and downloaded on the phone. Whether web access is allowed or what kind of texts can be sent. 
  • Usage Controls – these allow the parent to regulate the number of calls and texts. Parents can also restrict number either incoming or outgoing and they can set up times to have disabled. These generally do not restrict emergency numbers set up on the phone. 
  • GPS monitoring – these can help monitor the where your child are with a GPS system. Some can even be set up for a "safe" zone and alert you when or if your child leaves that area.
 All of these systems are not 100% reliable and it will never replace an adult but it can help feel a little safer. Each carrier has different options and you would need to check with them to see if they work for you.

The best thing to do is to talk with your child and to set up rules for their use of the phone. And as all mean parents can say "I gave you that phone and I sure can take it away too!"


  1. I’ll start by saying that is a funny picture of the kid at the top of the blog haha. I can tell that this topic has a lot of relevancy to you. Having a younger child makes your opinion seem more credible to me rather than say someone like me. This blog was inspiring because I don’t see the benefits of getting a 10 year old kid a cell phone. I’m with the 61% of people in the pie chart you used. You used the charts very well. The blog got a little long with all those examples of pros and cons but I liked the idea of pros and cons for a blog, I might have to use that idea on one of mine.

  2. You have great pictures and graphs in this post. In the beginning, I liked your “real life” introduction, though it maybe could have been shortened or broken up into two paragraphs so that it wasn’t such a big chunk of text.

    Like I said, the graphs you included were really good and relevant—however, I would definitely recommend explaining them in your text. Since you introduced them in the text, it’s clear that the message of the graphs is important to your overall post, so you could take a step further and explain to readers what they are looking at (and emphasize the points you found most interesting—did you consider certain percentages to be high or low?)

    You did a great job of laying out the issue and giving a good overview of it to your readers. I also thought you used sources really well. Good job!

  3. Interesting post and topic for a blog. Something I really never think about is what technology my kids are going to have so it was nice to see a blog dedicated to what kids have now (or what they wish the had).

    I liked how you formatted your post by giving a nice introduction and eased the statistical information in afterwords. The bullet points broke up the page well and really defined the specific points you were trying to make.

    One possible idea for future posts would be to bring in an up to the minute news story or post or "happening" and incorporate that into your blog as well to drive the point home that it's still relevant today. But like I said, overall I enjoyed reading your blog. Nice work!

  4. There are instances wherein the situation itself will require a child to have his own cell phone. So I believe that it isn’t only the age that has to be considered by the parents when deciding whether it is time to give their children a cell phone. Their maturity to handle the responsibilities involved in owning a cell phone should be considered, too. However, a child’s discipline to use this device properly can be molded depending on the guidance of the parents and the type of cell phone that will be given to a child. With constant monitoring and by giving a child with a simple cell phone like the Just5 Easyphone, a child can certainly use this device in the proper way. Here is a content that discuss this matter in detail:

  5. Thanks for sharing this post with all of us. I found this post very helpful for me. Also check out my article on pros and cons of having an only child.