To gift that cellphone … or not?
While there are many valid concerns regarding children and the use of digital devices such as cellphones, there is also a set of important benefits to responsible use for children. The key is that you as a parent need to remember that as with using a sharp knife, your child needs to be trained to get the benefits without hurting themselves or others.
Here are 7 reasons for you to consider allowing your child to have a phone or tablet for their use.
Get a parental rescue
The balance between protecting our children and allowing them the freedom to be their own person in the world is a delicate thing. If you have cultivated a trusting relationship with your child, they can easily reach out when a party or visit with friends takes a turn in the wrong direction.
Managing everyday logistics
Sport gets cancelled, or a pair of shoes were left at home. From time to time, things do not go as planned and being able to reach each other at these times reduces anxiety and helps both parent and child to stay in sync.
Connect with friends
Pen pals are a thing of the past, but children still want to connect with friends in different geographic locations. Having a responsible way to keep in touch will soften the blow of a friend moving to another town, or as it is happening these days, another country.
Connect with grandparents, cousins and extended family
My kids enjoy nothing more than spending time on the phone with their grandparents and cousins. Some networks even have packages that allow you to talk for free to people on the same network.
It does not matter if you want to learn how to do embroidery or code games, there are free videos online and mobile apps that teach almost every subject imaginable. Children today have access to the information needed to pursue any interest.
Get inspired by great role models
Beyond celebrity gossip, many great thinkers and leaders share their ideas online. With the right guidance, your child can sharpen their thinking and model exemplary people like never before.
Read a book
Kindle and the ebook revolutionised the publishing industry. Add to that the growing audiobook offering, and you have the world’s knowledge at your fingertips. The benefits of reading is well documented, so every opportunity to get kids to read more and better books should be taken.
“Your child is ready for a cellphone when they can sit down with you to create guidelines for its use. If they’re unwilling to make this list, they aren’t ready.” - Bradley S. Greenberg
That being said, it is also sensible to educate your child about the benefits, ethics and dangers of using a cellphone. With Christmas coming up and cellphones on many children's wish list, here is a standard contract to offer your tween before they receive their phone.
Want to read more interesting articles all about Things to do With Kids, then head on over to our Proudly South African Magazine.