3 Good Reasons to Not Give Children a Phone
Technology is a part of life now, and children are constantly getting better at using it. Their enormous capacity to learn at those ages, their curiosity, and the infinite possibilities our devices offer make them irresistible for children.
New technology is finding its way into childhood. And now children don’t take long before throwing a tantrum for you to give them your phone.
Well, if you want to make a good, well-informed decision, in this article we’re going to give you 3 good reasons not to give children a phone. Or, at least to do it under your supervision, and for a limited amount of time.
1. It Affects Neuronal Development: Devices Teach the Brain To Function With Constant Stimulation
Functioning in a setting where we’re always stimulated might seem like a good thing. In fact, a lot of experts in child development highlight the need to stimulate children early on. That way they can reach their maximum potential of intellectual development.
But what happens with phones is that the stimulation they create isn’t healthy.
Why is that? Mobile devices constantly overstimulate the brain and result in a volatile, vibrating, and everhanging environment.
This overstimulation is not healthy. That’s because it’s not like the stimulation a child will encounter later on in real life.
Along these lines, people say overstimulation isn’t healthy because it’s quite artificial. That’s something that might cause a lot of frustration when the child comes face to face with real life (it will feel more boring and less stimulating).
That’s why there are studies linking mobile device use in children under 10 (the age when the brain’s white matter formation is at its peak) with ADHD.
“Overstimulation isn’t healthy because it won’t prepare a child for real life. And then later on it will cause significant feelings of frustration when the child comes face to face with real life (it will feel more boring and less stimulating).”
2. It Exposes Children to the Dangers of the Internet and Social Media
Giving children a phone means giving them access to a big world their parents can’t control: the internet. To use a metaphor: if you wouldn’t leave your child alone at a mall without checking who they’re talking to, playing, and interacting with, why would you give them your phone?
No matter how convinced you are that your child could use the device responsibly, it’s not very realistic. If you try, you’ll be able to supervise what the child does with the phone for the first few days.
But then, most likely you’ll start to trust them and lower your guard. So as time goes on you may expose the child to a stimuli and situations you’re not in control of.
On the other hand, when you give children a phone, you make it easier for them to choose “online” relationships instead face-to-face, real-time ones.
That will turn into a bigger problem when it comes to learning social skills normally. It could end up being an obstacle in their work and social life when they’re an adult.
3. It Prevents the Development of Good Habits and Necessary Skills
Using a phone during early childhood will hinder the development of an important skill: concentration. This happens because mobile devices are designed to jump from one stimulus to another.
But concentration is exactly the opposite. Concentration means putting our attention on one stimulus at a time, steadily and for a prolonged amount of time.
It’s true that children seem to concentrate a lot on the screen. But it’s an easy form of concentration. It’s guided by constant change, so the phone is doing a lot of the concentration work for them.
Luckily for both children and parents, our brains are flexible and can learn to concentrate even when we’re adults. But, if possible, it’s better for them to learn how when they’re little.
Therefore giving children a phone means keeping them from learning to handle boredom on their own. Being able to get bored is very important.
But when you give a child a phone you make it so they’re always entertained. So they never have to face boredom. And really, you also create fights. You make it so the child is occasionally “restless” and “active.” But, this test on your patience will also be good for the child.
“When you give your child a phone, you keep them from learning to get bored. But this is one of the most fundamental skills for our daily life.”
Finally, we’ve only focused on reasons not to give children a phone in this article. But there are also positive or neutral reasons that we have to consider too.
Regardless, the important thing is that we’re in control of what’s happening. So, if we give them our phone, we should be watching.
We shouldn’t use it as a way to take a break and lower our guard too much. It also means structuring the amount of time they can use it. If their grandparents or other people let them, we have to show them how we want them to use the devices.
If that’s the case, the best thing might even be for us to not give them a phone. Even if they call us “mean,” this way we won’t be doubling the amount of time they’re exposed to the technology.