You’re not a bad parent if you don’t give your kid a smartphone

smartphoneThe problem with being a kid today is that they get everything they want. And it’s the parents’ fault. Parents today are much different from parents of yesteryear. Where moms and dads made their children wait for Christmas or birthday to give them presents, today’s parent rewards their children almost whenever they want, including a smartphone now. Part of the reason is that grownups today remember what it was like to be a kid. Wanting something so bad, but never being allowed to have it. Another reason, is based on that same theory. There’s so much great stuff out there that they want so why shouldn’t they (the parent) be allowed to get it. And if the adult gets whatever they want, then it’s pretty hypocritical of them to say no to their kid.

Now I know that’s not every parent out there, but look around and you’ll see that it is true of a lot:

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 73% of American teens aged 13 to 17 have access smartphones. Add that to the 15% of teens who have a basic cellphone and you’ll realize that a total of 88% of American teens have access to some kind of mobile phone.

Only 12% of the teens told Pew they didn’t have a cell phone of any type, including a smartphone.

Amanda Lenhart, the lead author of the published report said that access to a smartphone and  social media through them are a major part of teens’ lives. According to the survey, which consisted of more than 1,000 teens, 92% of teens are online daily with 24% of them saying that they are online “almost constantly.”

Lenhart noted “It’s very easy to feel as though you are nearly constantly online when you have a buzzing, ringing, music-playing connective device in your pocket 15 or more hours a day.”

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that that doesn’t seem impossible. Many have noted how they’ve driven a car full of teen girls who just sat in the back, each one on their phones, playing with apps, sometimes ignoring each other. Sometimes the girls comment back and forth yet they never take their eyes off their own device.

Add to that negative aspect the fact that kids who have smartphones are being more frequently subjected to peer pressure, bullying and inappropriate material. “When they’re on their devices that often, they are constantly in contact with negative influences,” said one child psychologist who conducted studies on the negative affects of digital devices. “They are constantly being judged, judging others, and self-judging. They don’t know how to relax and just be themselves. They have great difficulty accepting themselves or others for who they are.”

The lack of human interaction … the constant peer pressure … These are all good enough reasons to not let your child have a cell. But there’s another good reason. Cost. Economic cost. New smartphone technology range up into the hundreds. Add to that the carrier plan, a decent case to protect it and desire to purchase music, movies and apps!

In the end, it’s every parent’s personal decision to make. But just know that there are good reasons to not give in to your kids. Explaining these reasons to them will resonate a lot more than your parents’ answer of “Because I said so!”

Great Websites for Research

Pew Research Center
20|20 Panel
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