He said, she said: Should kids have cell phones?

He said, she said: Should kids have cell phones?

Vincent Schultz and Lindsey Matylewicz

He said:

Although there is no legal limit, children should be denied access to cellphones for numerous reasons.
According to a study published in “Computers in Human Behavior,” cellphone use is linked to lower grades, anxiety, and depression.

A survey of 356 undergraduate students from a random university revealed that individuals who used their cellular devices 150 minutes or fewer a day had an average GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. Those who use cellphones more than this time frame have an average GPA of 2.8 and lower.

As for those who use their cellphones more than 300 minutes per day, the previous study showed that these individuals struggle to distinguish connections in the real world. If these young adult users face social anxiety and depression as a result of cell phone use, what would a younger child face?

Outside of academic concerns, safety is a key reason why children should not be given cellphones.

Cyber bullying is a major occurrence throughout the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, 4,400 children a year commit suicide due to bullying. For each death, there are another 100 suicide attempts as well. Giving children access to the cell phones gives them the opportunity to bully or be bullied themselves.

Another major concern that affects not only children is the idea of “sexting.” Through the sending or exchanging of nude images, children and teens are at risk of exposing themselves and others to potential sexual predators.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy, 29 percent of teens think that sexting is a normal occurrence that results in dating or sex.

Moreover, 22 percent of teen girls and 20 percent of teen boys have sent nude images of themselves through the internet or cellphones. In result, one in six kids ages 12 to 17 have received sexually explicit texts and photos over the phone, according to CNN.

Of course, one major reason parents wish their children have phones is regarding safety. According to Amber Alert, a child safety program, roughly 700,000 children go missing annually.

Parents believe that by arming their children with cellphones, they can help prevent such occurrences. Though this may be true in some cases, in actuality, they are objecting them to numerous other risks.
Rather than giving children access to cell phones, children should be educated about the importance of curfews and safety.

She said:

Although it seems children and teenagers cannot lift their faces from the glowing display of a cell phone, these devices are essential for today’s society.

Children and teenagers have working parents with busy schedules, and parents need to keep in contact with their children. When was the last time you saw a working payphone? Through cell phones, users are able to stay in touch and aware of each other’s whereabouts.

Younger children can use a cell phone for emergency purposes. Whether the child has medical needs or is lost, he or she has access to instant communication with a parental figure. By simply carrying a cell phone, children can avoid many safety conflicts.

Smartphone applications are now equipping children and parents with tools to stay better connected and safer. Mobile Kids, an application that connects both the child’s and parent’s cell phone, includes monitoring tools such as statistics on data usage or the contacts in a child’s phone. The app also includes an SOS button in case of emergencies and GPS location services.

Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times reported that New York state police along with several other state authorities have used GPS tracking capabilities to know the whereabouts of cell phone owners. If a child were missing or kidnapped, authorities are able to find them.

Cell phones not only supply a sense of security, but they also are an educational tool for children and teenagers. For teenage students, Internet access is essential for educational purposes. Some low-income families do not have access to Internet at home, so these children can rely on a cellular phone for information.

Also, teenagers can use reference and educational applications such as a simple dictionary or calculator. Another interesting tool is the L2 classroom, where students send text messages to a database, and their messages are displayed on an online forum. Teachers are using these apps to provoke discussion among students through a device students are accustom to and comfortable with.

Even though parents are weary giving their son or daughter a cell phone at a young age, these are essential tools for safety and communication, and they can even benefit in the child’s education.