What’s the Best Age For Child To Get A Cell Phone?
This is an advanced world we live in nowadays. Internet, gadgets, computers, etc. are used by almost everybody. Access to entertainment for adults and children is granted easily. There will be that one day that this current situation is, guaranteed by observation, to be passed along to our off-springs. Even today, many parents are engaging their toddlers to cellular phone radiation at an early age of two (2) years, not considering the risk it may cause to the children’s bodies. We often do this to distract our children from tantrums, hyperactivity, and all other behaviors that we find annoying, right?
Today, we are about to learn about the effects of cellular phones on children so that we may consider things before engaging them to be such and come up with the answer to when a child should possess a cell phone. On this page, we will learn how it can affect a child’s physical and mental health.
How does a cell phone work? Is there a harmful substance? Can it harm my child?
Cell Phones emit a certain amount of radiofrequency. This radiation is known as non-ionizing. It means that it has no consistent evidence that it increases cancer risk to humans. But, it is not guaranteed that non-ionizing radiation can’t cause cancer at all. Frequent exposure can harm any person because every human body part can absorb radiation at a specific distance. For example, the transmission waves of cellular phones can be from 400 – 2700 MHz, and that can peak up to approximately 1-foot wavelength. When this transmission gets nearer than 3-inches to a human body part, depending on the length of time, the biological effect should be the heating up of tissues. That’s why we experience aches when having frequent long calls using a cell phone with no headset.
We should know that a child’s body, which is still on the process of growth is not as tolerant as an adult body towards energies such as radiation. Early exposure to radiation may cause a particular brain tumor called Glioma. (We must also know that various studies are conducted only on rats and not on real human bodies).
Does internet access guarantee safety for my child’s mental health? Will it affect his/her behavior?
Well, the Internet does not have any displacement in children’s daily activities. According to DiMaggio, Hargittain, Neuman, and Robinson (2001), the Internet is defined as the “electronic network of networks that links people and information through computers and other digital devices allowing person-to-person communication and information retrieval.”. The control on the Internet is not in our hands, but our children are. Various studies project that children with unguided use of the Internet and spend most time surfing around tend to have no physical and social involvement with the outside world. They tend to be more affection on people they do not know, ideas that are corrupting their innocence, trends that our children think they should acquire along with the others, unpleasant anger management, and emotional crisis. Young minds, as we know them, are easily deceived. The Internet offers a variety of entertainments; pranks, social experiments, self-destructive expressions, etc. We don’t want that for our children, do we? Here is some question we can ask ourselves and our children to assess if they can acquire cellular phone:
1. Why does my child need it? – by asking this, we can have several good and bad reasons to weigh. The goal is either the need to be in contact 24/7, or they just want it cause their friends have phones too. If we are not often apart beyond school hours without children, there’s no need to get them a cell phone. Still, if she’s into sports or extracurricular activities and can handle it well independently, there could be a room of consideration for buying them a cell phone. (There are cellular phones that cannot access the Internet if the child is too young to engage with such).
2. Is my child responsible enough? – can they take good care of the cell phone we are planning to give them, or are we worried he’ll lose it somewhere while eating in the cafeteria on the day we give it to them? If they bring the cell phone to campus, are we assured that our rules aren’t being broken? Will they use the cell phone to take unpleasant photos, record videos, and send messages that may harass anybody? We should ask ourselves these questions and try to discuss with our child about how having a high technology a high responsibility, before handing over a new phone. This will make sure of our perspective and judgment over them sincere and profound.
3. Does my child understand safety issues? – by asking this, we will measure how much they know the possible situations: prank calls, scam, cyber-bullying, given that he/she will have access to the Internet. Calling for a ride home isn’t the only thing cell phones can do. We must ask ourselves another question, is our child old enough and trustworthy to use her cell phone safely and could follow our set of rules whenever they use it?
4. Does my child understand the cost? – we should know that plans cost differently. Asking ourselves or them this question will make sure they know the expenses at stake. Consider that there are plans that offer unlimited calls and texts. However, there are also plans that limit these kinds of access. Also, downloading movies, applications, music, etc. create extra charges. Fortunately, carriers do have options to help control cost that includes prepaid and postpaid cell phones. Setting up limits and monthly budget will make our children take control or else face the consequences if they exceed the limit – one way of disciplinary action.
5. How to keep my child’s phone usage safe and under control? – rules should be made before deciding to get them their cell phone. For example, putting a condition that limits the people that allowed to contact them or else there will be corresponding punishment. We can also limit or restrict their access to the Internet. Talk to them about the dangers of sexting, especially when the child is a young girl. Printing and have her sign an agreement that states the premises and conditions about the whole cell phone thing. Also, it is best to educate ourselves on how social media are popular with tweens and teens.
Now, all of these discussions will sum up to asking why should kids not have cellphones at a very young age? Due to the length of time and frequency of use, there will be a higher risk of physical health. Tumors may or may not occur—high chances of having eye problems: glaucoma, cataract, blurry eyesight. Exposure to radiation also affects CNS, possibly causing Peripheral Neuropathy. Worse case, it may cause cardiovascular illnesses.
Also, the cell phone has access to the Internet. This will expose children to see contents not suited for young audiences: unpleasant images, below-the-belt pranks, p*rnography, traumatizing videos, etc. Parents must know when to allow children to have this technology and how to imply parameters. We need to make sure that our children know the difference between useful and destructive content the Internet can offer. Teach them integrity, honesty, discipline, and trustworthy.
So, what age should we get phones for our children? We can say not less than thirteen (13) years old. That’s when teenage life begins, and somehow, with monitoring the usage of their phones, we could not worry too much about their health and emotional state. It is the stage when we let them explore adolescence but not on their own. Guidance and communication is always the key to a good parent-child relationship.
To sum it up, cellular phones and the Internet also have valuable benefits. It can only harm if we let it.