Does your child have a smart phone? If they are in middle school, the answer is probably yes. Nearly all children in the United States own a phone by age 15. Anyone with a 2017 birthday was born a decade after the Apple iPhone debuted. Kids have no idea what it’s like to grow up in a world where smartphones didn’t exist.
Smartphones have become like a sixth finger, constantly attached to our hands. Kids see everyone carrying one around, staring at it, consumed by it, and feel the need to join in the act. If smartphones are considered addictive for people of any age, they are super-addictive for developing minds.
Smartphones are a tool. They, like any tool, can be used for good or evil. A knife can be used to stab a person or slice a wedding cake. A smartphone can be used to call a grandmother or sext with a teen. What are kids doing with these smartphones?
Smartphones open the door for texting, social media, or video creation, which can tempt young minds to overshare. Pew Research revealed that 88 percent of teens said they shared “too much” personal information online. Sharing “too much” can slide into sharing “too private.” One study found 53 percent of kids between 11 and 16 viewed explicit material online and one-third of those kids said they first viewed pornography on a smartphone.
Cyberbullying has led to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts in kids. Smartphones open the doors to the world, which also opens wide the door to comparison. Unhealthy content consumption lands developing minds in patterns of insomnia, aggression, sexualization, and drug use.
The connections smartphones enable can be good. They can also be detrimental. Are you ready? Check out this video from All Pro Dad and get involved today. We did research on the dangers and snares waiting for kids who use smartphones. We also pass along parental control options like cell phone contracts and app restriction tools. This is no cookie cutter solution to smartphone safety, but this video will help you build effective guardrails around smartphone use with kids.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you use a smartphone for?”