Is a Smartphone a Dumb Idea for a Small Child?
CNR Assistant Professor of Social Work Catherine Pearlman considers the pros and cons of smartphones for children in a blog post for the Wall Street Journal
My friend Denise recently asked for advice relating to her nine-year-old daughter's social issues. Denise's daughter Elsa was feeling left out of her social group because her friends often got together, but they didn't always invite her. When I asked how Elsa knew what her friends were doing, Denise said, "Oh, well, they all text each other on the iPod Touch."READ THE FULL ARTICLE
What? At ... Nine!?
Denise said all the kids in her area have either an iPod Touch or a phone, and they texted throughout the weekend. My friend is truly an excellent mother. She is patient, dedicated and available. Yet, without thinking things through, even she got caught up in the all-the-kids-have-one phenomenon. (Comedian Louis C.K. recently explored the issue of kids and smart phones to comic effect. "You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something," the comic said. "That's what the phones are taking away.")
After speaking with Denise, I thought about the social ramifications of a young child having uninterrupted access to a social group. I, too, have a daughter Elsa's age. Next year she enters our local middle school, which means—inevitably—she'll be craving her own iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. What's a parent to do?