Parenting

Parents, Can You Please Stop Buying Your 10-Year-Olds Smartphones?

Parents, I need your help. Can you stop buying your 8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds smartphones? I can’t come up with any conceivable reason why they need these things. Maybe a flip-phone is okay if they are away from you all day, but this outbreak of “no child left without a phone” is getting absurd. I had to explain (for the 100th time) to my ten-year-old why she cannot have a phone right now after seeing her friends with smartphones.

Aside from explaining to her that she has already lost two pairs of very expensive glasses, I struggle to explain why this family is saying no to early technology. One of the reasons is that children have this finite amount of time to be children that never comes again. It’s the only time they will ever be miniature-sized humans, entertained by fireflies, playing tag, imagining they are knights in battle or fairies that can fly. Giving a smartphone to one of these elusive creatures is like turning the clock to fast-forward. Why would we want to do this? They have the rest of their lives to text and read Drudge or troll Facebook. But they only have right now, this very minute, for the precious, fleeting moments of childhood that will vanish right before our eyes. Please stop taking that from them. Stop rushing them to grow up.

Do you know what they are looking at on those phones? Statistics say porn. And the girls who aren’t actively looking for porn are being pressured by the boys to send pornographic images of themselves via cell phone. What is the rush to put this danger into their lives? If it’s games they want to play, they can do that on a Kindle or on your iPad. A phone unlocks a whole world of danger they are not ready for.

Sexting has become a bigger worry for parents than smoking or alcohol, according to a poll reported in the Telegraph.

Research findings released by GDST (Girls’ Day School Trust) show that over 50 percent of teachers know of pupils who engage in sexting, with a quarter of those aged 11.

This could have been avoided if only their parents had the foresight to delay giving these children phones—and I’m sure they wish now that they had.

As a child of the eighties, I survived just fine without a cell phone. If I wanted to call someone, I did it from the phone on the kitchen wall with the thirty-foot cord that stretched all the way upstairs. There was no reason then, and there is no reason now, for a child to have a phone outside of the one at home. They will survive, and most importantly, they will not make the mistake of sending pornography to some other kid without understanding the ramifications that will haunt them forever.

This is a new world full of new challenges, but let’s not be fooled into thinking we have to obey the slavish demands of the technology pushers. Technology is useful and fun for those who are mature enough to handle it responsibly. In the hands of the immature and ignorant it is a nuclear bomb with a hair-trigger. Why risk it?