KT debate: Should children be given a smartphone?
A gadget grabbing complete attention and entertaining their baby is a convenient fad for parents.
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In an age when smartphones have become part of everyone's lives, parents are at crossroads when it comes to handing the gadget to their children. Babies are allured by the bright colours that pop up with each swipe and tap, and seem to get lost with the 'toy' until they are asleep. A gadget grabbing complete attention and entertaining their baby is a convenient fad for parents. However, as the child grows, many physical and mental issues crop up. And by then smartphones would have become part of their identity. So, is it right to give children a smartphone?
After a certain age, having access to and using the latest technology is imperative to keep the child abreast of changing times. But it's our responsibility as parents to ensure that they're educated about the darker side of the online world. Parents must keep watchful eye over their child's online activities and must give timely guidance as and when required but in a friendly manner. A parent should become a child's best friend. Also, depriving them of smartphones and other gadgets will achieve nothing, and would just be a wilfull impairment of their digital literacy.
Hareesh Kumar, Product manager
Parents should establish a good daily routine and spend quality time with their children. This will help parents set boundaries for their children when it comes to using the smartphone. If a child finishes all the tasks expected from him/her, then there is no harm allowing the child to use the gadget. However, I would strongly advise parents not to allow children to play games promoting violence and biases as this can be very harmful for the child's mental health. Children can have access to these gadgets as per their developmental age.
Dr Samra Tahir, Consultant clinical psychologist
As a teenager, I believe there is nothing wrong about using a mobile phone. Every child needs to be aware about potential risks and negative sides of using technology. My parents have made me aware about rights and wrongs. I use a smartphone to gather information from the internet and also for entertainment. I have my own TikTok page @itsjustrihana and I enjoy quite a following. If I face any issues or misbehaviour I quickly point it out to my parents. Children must be alert and proactive, and also limit usage of phones.
Rihana Farheen, Grade 7 student
Mobile phones are an addiction that should not be encouraged at an early age. Of course, the phone has its utility. Kids, when at home, can make use of landline connection to make a call in case of any emergency. Also, if you are dropping and picking your child from tuitions and combined studies, then there is no use of a mobile phone. I am not being conservative but aware about the kind of negative impact from forwarded messages that comes on WhatsApp. Also, I have heard a lot about cyber bullying.
Balasubramanian A. Paramasivanandam, Project manager
I support the embracing of technology but according to the age of a person. I see even a three-year-old playing with a phone. This is a very dangerous practice. If you take the phone away from the baby, it will cry. Even as parents see it lightly, the baby has already become an addict. By 5 or 6 years, that child will explore all uses of a smartphone, including password locks. Long hours of phone use not only affect their eyesight but indirectly leads to obesity. Children below 12 should never be given a phone at all.
Rassiya Salim, Arabic teacher
A parent gifting a smartphone to a child will cause cracks in a relationship. Soon the child will be attached to the phone and will become irritated when called for any work at home. Downloading the many apps and spending more time on the phone will impact their sleep hours. This will lead to behavioural issues and affects their brain development. If a child is in senior grades then he or she can be given a phone but parents need to monitor and mentor them. Parental guidance is key to dealing with issues of mental and physical health.
Shajahan Mohammed, Transport division
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