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Of Children and Phones

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Synerjee, Jun 13, 2015.

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  1. Synerjee

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    In this modern technological era, one can see children under the age of 10 walking around with their own smartphones. If a kid does not own a smartphone, they probably wouldn't be very popular amongst their groups of friends at school.

    In your opinion, at what age do you think is the right time to give children their first phones? Do you think it is irresponsible of parents to entrust phones to their children at a young age? If we were to expand this further to include other digital devices in general such as tablets, what say you? Feel free to add in or discuss anything related to this topic.

    Edit: added more things as per my post below

    To add to the discussion, what substitute(s) could parents use instead of digital devices to entertain their children and train them from young not to depend solely on technology? Also, if their children are already used to being given technology as a pacifier, how could parents solve this to a point where their children won't throw tantrums once said devices are taken away from them?
     
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  2. 8542Madness

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    I think phones especially are smart to give to children. I absolutely believe in enforcing some restraint on how much time they spend on the phone, but making sure children are comfortable and familiar with technology in general is something I consider to be very important. Maybe start them off with a simple phone and move up to the smartphone over time.

    As far as tablets and other devices go, I'm more or less on the same idea. I think it's good to expose them to technology, but with some moderation.
     
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  3. Reckless

    Reckless Won't take the easy road

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    I support youngsters adopting technology, for entertainment or educational purposes, but I am fervently against kids under the age of ten getting overly attached to tablets. It's alright to let them play with a tablet or smartphone for games in moderation, just as a whole other generation turned to the N64 and Playstation for games, but you know something is awfully amiss when, as soon as you take away said technology, that same child will start to shout and scream. I've seen it happen with kids as young as 2 1/2 - kids that can't even speak yet, who are growing overtly attached to tech.
     
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  4. Eclipse

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    [​IMG]

    How tempted am I to start off this post of mine by shouting "Back in my day" while angrily flailing a cane around at the children who I want to remove their feet from my lawn?

    Extremely!
    Now let's see if I can write this post without doing that.

    When I was younger (I believe 10 or so) I was given a basic cell phone to keep in touch with my family, in case I went somewhere and/or got lost. This was after the era of cell phones being the size of bricks, but before the era of cell phone screens having more than 1 color besides 'black or off'. The purpose was utterly defeated because I kept losing it, constantly.

    If my bias is taken into account, I honestly do not believe anyone below the age of 15 should be in possession of a cell phone (I would say below 18, but I have to be somewhat reasonable here). It's essentially a weapon of irresponsibility waiting to happen and, if not used appropriately, will mostly just lead to conflict and flagrant use of parent's money. (Now, if there are ways to set up cell phone plans that terminate its use after a certain point, e.g. permitted data use, the problem could be slightly mitigated.)

    Realistically I am not a parent, nor will I ever be, so I do not know if I can truly make an accurate judgment call on the subject. (I am not saying anyone else here is or isn't one, but I believe that I would need to be one to make the best decision for this.) What I do know is that a child with any kind of power, no matter how small, is tantamount to an accident waiting to happen. This could be because I myself am irritated by children, though since irresponsible use of cell phones exist, I suppose that does have some measure of justification in reality.

    ...What do you know. I actually managed to make this post without using "Back in my day" as part of my explanation. I wonder if I should give myself a pat on the back for this. ...Probably not.
     
  5. Absolute Zero

    Absolute Zero The second seal

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    I'm with Reckless on this one, it can be useful at certain ages, but those 2.5 year old kids who are hooked on tech are potentially stunting their own development, or rather their parents are potentially stunting the child's development. There are some things that are only learned in the real world (like cause-and-effect that isn't programmed into games, kinesthetic sense development, others), but perhaps most important is social interaction. I don't foresee a point in the distant future of humanity when social interaction is entirely digital, even if humanity does devolve to a Wall-E type dependence on technology there will certainly be some amount of direct interaction. The cartoon faces on phone games simply don't teach the nuances of human interaction, even if they do emote positive and negative reactions.

    I've got a little cousin who is maybe 5 or 6 right now, and for the vast majority of his life he's been given tech as an easy sit-down-and-shut-up tool by his parents. I'm talking he already has a smartphone and tablet of his own and every portable gaming platform (maybe some home consoles too), and gets a new game every weekend. He's spent so much time attached to these rectangles that he's an absolute problem child at school and with children his own age. He can't forge healthy interpersonal relationships, he's very rigid and demanding (since a 3DS always does exactly what it's told, so why shouldn't grownups and other kids do the same), and his attention span is miniscule at best. Really, with all this flooded tech, he can't even play one videogame for a half hour, he has to switch it out for a new stimulus every couple of minutes. His problem caused by excessive tech is outgrowing even itself.

    On the other hand, for better or worse (a point I'm not going to debate here, just leaving it open) all this tech is becoming a more integral part of modern life. I for one have never had a smartphone, and I had a tablet for a month one time (as part of a short-lived job I tried last year), so these kids that do get early exposure to this technology are leaps and bounds ahead of me and other old school types, and are much better prepared to use these devices in a work field that requires them, something that will be very important in coming years. Technological literacy is changing. Typewriters were replaced by fax, fax was replaced by computer email, computer email is being replaced by tablets. The tech-literate kids are more adapted for workplace thriving than I am and will probably continue to adapt to a changing workforce better than I will, and that is a good thing for them.

    As for the best age for being introduced to tech-based recreation, I think after the child has demonstrated healthy social skills is best. Child is making friends in kindergarten, acting reasonably with adults, and showing they understand that their actions will cause reactions from other people? Maybe that stuff happens for the first time in third grade, or fifth? After the basic skillset for dealing with humans is there, so some early tech won't do so much harm (probably).
     
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  6. LostSpirit

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    I don't really feel like it's necessary for children to have smartphones. I understand the temptation of wanting a smartphone when I was little, but it's really not necessary. Personally, I went without a phone until my freshman year of highschool and I did perfectly fine. However, regular phones are necessary if you want to call someone to pick you up from school or from some sort of social outing.

    Nowadays, apps and social media dominate the hierarchy of smartphone use. Sure it's convenient, but it also takes away interaction between kids directly. After all, when you're in a place you're uncomfortable with, what do you do? Take out your phone and check something. No one really talks to each other face to face anymore. Imagine if kids stopped talking to each other. They'd grow up more isolated than before.

    I don't think kids should be allowed a smartphone until their years in highschool and even so I'm still iffy on that. I think smartphones are pretty handy in highschool where you can take pictures of assignments on the board or use it to look up information really quick. In my highschool, teachers incorporate using phones in their daily curriculum. I think it's more needed in highschool than in elementary or middle school.

    Of course, that's not to say kids can't play with modern technology like tablets at all. However, it should be limited. One to three hours at the most. I'm on the computer myself for more than 12 hours everyday, and it's gotten to the point where it's unbearable without some sort of technology. I don't want kids growing up like me considering that it's affected my health immensely with headaches and body pains.

    Although this is all just my personal bias towards smartphones and technology in general, I'd rather my kids grow up with some technology instead of solely of technology.
     
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  7. Synerjee

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    Very well-stated points above. To add to the discussion, what substitute(s) could parents use instead of digital devices to entertain their children and train them from young not to depend solely on technology? Also, if their children are already used to being given technology as a pacifier, how could parents solve this to a point where their children won't throw tantrums once said devices are taken away from them?
     
  8. Doomhound

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    I think reading is something good still :)

    Backing up, I'd say a good age to get a cell phone would be around the age of 13. Kids start to get out and around more at that age and its good to have contact with them if they need rides or are just out, its a smart thing to have. They don't need a smartphone though, something that's a constant source of gaming and social media that they always carry. Its just not healthy in my opinion for someone that young to spend so much time on a phone. You could try restricting time, but that's probably not going to stand for long before its cheated on. I'd say get the smartphone around 16. Get a car, show some responsibility, and then you can handle a smartphone. Earlier than that though, read some books! It makes you smarter, I don't think you can really disprove that. Back in the old days all they could do was read anyways xD Young kids can go have fun with tech and all, but that should not be by any means a majority of the time. Get the kid to be creative, go play, be outside, read some books... It's a healthier option.
     
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  9. Eclipse

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    I'd have to agree with @[member="Zero Sifr"] on a number of his points. I will admit that sometimes technology and mindless point-and-click games are used as a substitute for parenting, rather as something like a reward for good behaviour or similar. I think it's a good idea to incentivise it, somewhat, but without supplemental/additional input from the real world we are surrounded by, it is no help.

    The main problem I would see with children and technology is that children don't know any better. They tend to assume the best and that virtually everything is inherently good - or at least what they reach first. The feedback they receive determines how they will behave. I know a fair number of people who treat video games as a reward yet still have their children go to social events fairly often - and they all do just fine. Moderation, self-control, and balance are all important things to have...though I will also admit that those three things are buzzwords and have zero meaning unless the actual action behind them is taken.

    To move along to @[member="Synerjee"] 's subsequent questions...

    I think a big part of a child's life would be recreation - in short, games. How many games are there in existence? A lot. I'm sure you can name off your favourites fairly rapidly, be they handheld games, console games, or smartphone apps. But what about Dominoes? What about Uno? What about Sorry? Those are games simple enough to teach a young child, and not only are they training their minds in much the same way, they're gaining human interaction. And, gradually, you can move up with more board games as they increase in age and complexity, and can handle more concepts while still building off the old ones (I know a family that does this for their children). Children will always have a willingness to learn and interact with something - and it's a parent's choice to choose what.

    If technology is already being used as a pacifier and parents are trying to wean them off of it? I can't speak like I'm an expert on the matter, though I think if that is the case, technology should become incentivised (as I alluded to above) - appropriate behaviour would be associated with reward. I am not sure if using technology as a pacifier is used as an excuse or an escape for parents, and I may never know. In addition, those parents who can't spend time with their children often due to extremely busy lives I can't speak to either. Regardless I think that children should have some kind of family interaction, and one maintained continually. A device is not any substitute for a human, nor should it ever be.
     
  10. eeveeongirl

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    I'm torn. I wasn't given a phone until I was in middle school and started doing drama, the phones main purpose was a way for me to call my parents to pick me up which was fine for seven years ago (wow time flies) However technology is becoming a more intricate part of our world at an alarming rate. So i think that its alright for a preteen to have a phone, maybe not an iphone but a simple penny touch screen is ok. Besides kids are being introduced to many social medias already regardless. Miiverse, Xbox live, whatever playstation has, young children are already connected so we cant slow them down now and I wouldn't want to.
     
  11. Nator

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    The absolute minimum age I would allow my child to have a smartphone is 16. Depending on the maturity and personality of said child though, it may not be until age 18. At that age anyhow, they're free from the grasp of their parents. If they had their own job, they would pay for it themselves. If no job, I would allow them a smartphone under my own finances under the circumstances of them contributing in some way, like going to college, volunteer work etc. Nothing comes free. As far as peer pressure goes and "fitting in", I wouldn't be stupid enough to place my kid(s) in the public schooling system. They would go to a private school, or I would school them myself. The social conditioning in these public schools is flat out horrendous.
     
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