PHOENIX, AZ — More and more parents are giving their children a smartphone at a younger age.
But some child advocates worry that letting an 8- or 9-year-old kid have a phone before they’re ready could create some serious problems.
Kelly Yunis, of Phoenix, has no problem letting her 10-year-old daughter Samantha borrow her phone.
But she’s not quite ready to let the fifth-grader have a smartphone of her own.
“I really want her to have a phone, but at the same time I want to still kind of protect her,” said Yunis.
The Valley mom is like a lot of parents struggling with the decision about what age is the right age to give their kid a smartphone.
Some mom groups have started a campaign on social media called, “Wait until 8th.”
It asks parents to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least eighth grade, hoping that by banding together it will decrease pressure felt by kids and parents to get a phone at an early age.
Dr. Lisa Strohman is a cyber-psychologist, who specializes in the impact technology has on children.
She said that every child is different, with some more responsible than others.
However, giving a kid free reign on the internet and social media before they’re ready can lead to some serious psychological problems later in life, said Strohman.
“Parents need to know – we call it ACES in psychology – adverse childhood experiences,” said Strohman. “What we find is that kids experiencing those via technology do not share that with their parents because the consequences to that is [sic] that technology will be taken away.”
Other reasons parents should think twice before buying their pre-teen a smartphone are smartphones:
- Can be addictive
- Can be an academic distraction
- Impair sleep
- Increase risk for anxiety/depression
- Subject a child to cyber bullying
“There’s no true reason why kids need to have a smartphone,” said Strohman.