Friday, August 22, 2014

Kids and Smartphones- How Much is Too Much?

Parents around the world are battling the pros and cons to their children owning and using smartphones. The idea of letting their children have unrestricted access to the Internet their phone provides sounds pretty unappealing to most parents, but the weight of the pressure of not wanting their children to be different from all the other kids also serves as a setback. 

With increasing uses of technology in our education system, it’s not a bad idea for kids and teens to be up-to-speed on all the latest gadgets and their uses- but it continues to raise the question: how much is too much? 

Back in January of 2009, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology issued a notice to schools requesting a ban on cellphones within elementary and junior high schools, as well as restrictions for high schools. Fast forward to 2014 and the problem only seems to be more of a problem with smartphones being more popular, and well, smarter, than ever. Most parents are all too familiar with the horror stories surrounding cyber bullying that seems to be the dominating form of bullying these days. 

Parents and educators aren’t the only ones interested in answering this question nowadays, the toy industry is as well. Recently MegaHouse developed Fairisia, a smartphone made just for kids that can easily be monitored and limited by parents. 

But, at the end of the day technology is only going to become more prevalent and harder to avoid, so instead of bashing it or banning it parents should become more educated about it. Knowing how smartphones work and using one yourself can help you be aware about how your child may be using their phone. It is important to know the dangers as well as the benefits of smartphones as well as techniques for monitoring their use. Issuing a curfew, limiting the number of hours they can use their phone, having them keep their phone downstairs at night are all examples of ways to monitor their use. If they have social media accounts such as Twitter or Facebook, make your own account and see what they are up to! Or if that is totally not up your alley at all and your child is still young, require them to give you their user name and passwords so you can occasionally sign on and take a peak at what they are doing online. 

The advancing technology and kids' advancing knowledge of it can seem intimidating to most parents, but being aware and checked in as well as knowledgable yourself are all ways to ease your qualms around the subject of kids and smartphones. 

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