Why smart phones aren’t good for young kids...
It is surprising to find out that many kids under 8 years have a phone!! Many 9 to 12 years old kids already have a phone. At some point, I also wished I could have a smartphone like all of my friends. But, after a bit of research, I learned that most children use their phones to text, surf the web, post on social media, and call their friends. But, even if this seems fun at first, 1 in 4 kids are cyber bullied every day. 81% of kids say it is easier to bully online than in person as per many researchers.
Many kids regret things that they have commented or texted. Also, for young kids surfing the web, the internet is an uncontrolled environment and sometimes the stuff of nightmares will pop up on your screen. Dangerous strangers will be able to find out your personal information and contact you. So it is not such a great idea to carry smart phones when you are young, specially elementary and middle school. It looks cool on young hands but Steve Jobs did not mean it to be that way!
Alternatives for this problem
Ability to connect with your parents or caregivers when needed is a great necessity. So here are some of the alternatives that I suggest.
Flip phone: One alternative is a flip phone. In a flip phone, you can receive a call or dial someone. There is no browser, so you can’t search something up on Google or Safari. Unfortunately, parents cannot control who the kids are calling or who is calling them.
Gizmo Gadget: This is a smartwatch for kids. You can call dedicated numbers and send messages to them, and the parents can see who is being called and who is messaging. There is no browser on this smartwatch, but there is a compass, timer, stopwatch, voice recorder and activity station. There is a to-do list to keep the kids on track with activities and events.
Chromebook: In a home environment, a chrome-book is a good tool for emailing, chatting, video-calling and coding. Though it does have a browser, at home, kids will be under adult supervision most of the time.
Ipod touch: Through an Ipod touch, you can call, listen to music , facetime, and contact your friends. With parental controls, you can disable the browser and ability to call if needed.
For young kids, instead of smart phones, the alternatives below are definitely an igniter's choice! Each of them is sufficient, cool and serve the purpose necessary for young students. (1) Chromebook is almost like having a notebook, a pencil and a programming device. My parents introduced me to chromebook. I use it to play chess and do my coding. Chromebook is sufficient to do software coding for kids and use in hackathon. (2) Gizmo Gadget is a smart watch for kids. It provides a connection when you absolutely need it. You can call / text only the numbers set by your parents. Parents can see real time view of the gadget activity and the map in it helps search where the gadget of the person wearing is. This is helpful during summer camp, weekend activities or for the third party care giver. Gizmo was introduced by my besties and I am loving it.
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Authored by Ananya Pradhan