It seems like everywhere you turn, you see someone on a cell phone. In cars, in stores, in restaurants – you even see kids riding their bicycles talking on their cells phones. But, when you do see children with them, do you ever think to yourself, “How young is too young for a cell phone?”
While it’s true we are smack in the middle of the information and communication age, how far should that extend? Is it really appropriate for young children to have cell phones?
Every kid seems to want one. Parents seem satisfied to justify the purchase by explaining, “We though it was best to be able to get in touch with Johnny wherever he goes.” While that may sound reasonable at first, if you dig a little deeper and look at the ages of some of the children getting cell phones these days, that rationalization is a sign that something is inherently wrong here.
Ask yourself this, should an 8 year old have a cell phone? How about 9 or is 10 old enough? Maybe the real question we should ask is, “How young is too young to be somewhere unsupervised?” In essence, that is what a parent is saying when they claim that a phone is necessary to get in touch with their children wherever they go.
A cell phone is not a baby sitting device. Giving a young child a cell phone and allowing them to be outside the range of adult supervision or in a situation where they cannot simply walk up to a responsible adult in case of an emergency is just plain wrong. Or, if you are leaving your child in a place where you or another adult cannot see them or check on them within a moment’s notice, you may not be exhibiting the most responsible parenting skills.
You should know where your child is every moment of the day. You should be able to see them or check on them without delay until they are responsible enough to be left alone and fend for themselves. Is this appropriate at age 8, 9, 10?
When you give a child a cell phone so you feel better that you can find them in a moment’s notice, you’ve entered a place where you’ve circumvented parenting skills for the delusion that a child with a phone can make good decisions, always communicate the truth to you and may essentially be alone with nothing more than an electronic device to protect them.
So, the next time you see a child on a cell phone, you might want to think again – how young is too young for a cell phone?