Garfield Senior High School

Op-Ed: Should your kid have a phone?

Every new generation of kids seems to bring a new evil with it. Rock and roll music was once seen as evil and the reason why kids did drugs and had sex. In the early ages of video games, people blamed them for all the violence in the country. Now the new evil is the smartphone, more specifically the iPhone. Only certain people have a taste for rock music or video games but just about every person (which is not an exaggeration) has a smartphone. But the real danger of phones isn’t the influence it has on adults or even teenagers, it’s the effect it has on children.

It seems like there’s no issue with older teenagers and young adults having phones. It’s become a social norm for many of us, but it’s difficult to believe that children as young as 6-years-old have their own personal smartphone.

Data released by CNN shows that smartphones dramatically decreased the rate at which teenagers (grade 8 – high school seniors) go out with their friends.

The study was done on students who had an active life before phones were so popular. Children who have grown up their entire lives with a phone in their hands would probably have less of an active social life than youths do today. If teenagers are experiencing an all time high of depression and suicide rates, who knows how mentally ill kids whose entire lives have been spent around phones will be.

Some people are absolutely on board with using phones as a pacifier for their kids. They would say that it’s more money efficient because you don’t have to be buying your kids toys all the time, you just need to lend them your phone every time they become upset and problem solved! But what you get in return is a kid who will grow up seemingly brainless and absolutely dependent on a phone.

Teenagers today are addicted to their phones, but the teenagers of the future will be lifeless without one.Phones take away any imagination a kid should be allowed to exercise. When you buy your kid a toy, they entertain themselves by creating new stories with those toys each and every day. On the other hand, a four-year old kid is going to use their parent’s phone to play a simple game or watch a video.

All they’re doing is following directions or mindlessly staring at a screen while simultaneously destroying their eyes. It’s much harder to make your phone safe for kids than it is to buy toys that are safe, so make the better choice.

Parents of today, parents of tomorrow, please try to restrict the amount of time your children spend on smartphones. Occasionally allowing your kid to use your phone for a bit is understandable but it shouldn’t extend passed that. The only good thing about letting them use a phone is that you get to be lazy and ignore them while you avoid your basic occupations as a parent.

You can instead try interacting with your child face-to-face or taking them outside to a park to see nature. I know it’s a crazy idea, playing with your kids, but they’ll actually behave like a human instead of a slave to their phone when they grow older. If you don’t want your kid’s love then smartphones are your new best friend! But for the rest of us that want psychologically healthy children who love us and aren’t depressed like the rest of the teenage population, then perhaps pushing them away from phones is a good idea.