The official reason why parents give their children smartphones is for their safety and security. However, most parents may well know that the unofficial reason is the nagging they are subjected to. Children often see their friends who own smartphones and declare that they too want the same. Moreover, most of the teenagers today only want smartphones which are pretty expensive to boot. So is buying them a smartphone a wise decision after all?
The first question that comes to mind here is at what age must a child be considered old enough to own a smartphone? There is no universal answer to this, and it depends entirely on several external factors. The next question to ask is, what kind of a cellphone is it best to provide your child with; a smartphone or a regular feature phone?
The security risks of smartphones
As parents, it is necessary to know the risks and dangers of putting smartphones in the hands of someone too young, before doing so. After all, the Internet is a minefield of dangers for even the most experienced minds. So teenagers and young children are even more at risk.
The following threats can potentially harm your child online, so you need to ask yourself if you are willing to subject them to these risks.
- Giving out personal and private information
- Falling prey to online predators
- Being a victim of cyberbullying
- Carrying out excessive financial transactions
- Developing an incessant Internet addiction
- Losing interest in social activities that involve interacting with other kids
- Facing sleep deprivation and reduced eyesight
- Getting distracted from academics and school work
While some of these risks may seem exaggerated, the fact is that such incidents do occur. Children have a way of overusing gadgets and technology when they get their hands on it and it is the responsibility of their parents to educate them about the same. For more info on related threats, do visit our Rotary Cyber Safety Initiative page on Facebook.
While smartphones are great tools to possess, especially with regards to knowing your child’s whereabouts and for keeping in contact with them, it is necessary to be aware of the possible repercussions of owning them as well.
If you are a parent and have bought your child a smartphone, or are planning to get one soon, we would like to hear from you. Do take a minute to fill out the poll below and let us know what you think is the suitable age for getting your child a smartphone. Also, do ensure that your child’s smartphone has an effective antivirus solution running on it at all times.