Are You Old Enough to Have a Smartphone?

If you have a smartphone, you’re not alone. A recent study found that more than one-third of all 10-year-olds in the U.S. have their own phones. But not everyone thinks allowing kids to have phones is such a smart idea. 

Some experts suggest that parents avoid giving phones to their kids until they turn 14. One concern is that kids will get addicted. Many parents worry that too much screen time will affect kids’ ability to make friends or develop new interests.

But others argue that smartphones can help kids stay connected to friends and family. They also point out that the educational apps on phones can be helpful with schoolwork.

Psychologist Jerry Bubrick says kids need to understand a basic rule. 

“It’s about balance,” Bubrick explains. “It’s important to understand that your phone is a part of your life, but it’s not your whole life.”

Here’s what two of our readers think.

My parents got me a phone last year because they trust that I am responsible. I use my phone to call my dad. I let him know when I’m on my way home from school so he knows when to expect me. If there were an emergency, I could use my phone to call 911. 

Sure, I also play games with my friends and watch videos on my smartphone. But I do that for less than an hour each day. So I have plenty of time for homework and other things.

I don’t have a smartphone, and that’s OK. Owning a phone can be bad for kids. When you use it to go on the internet, it’s easy to click on dangerous links or websites. Not all kids can tell what’s safe and what can harm them. 

A smartphone is also distracting. It takes time away from hanging out with friends and family in real life. Some kids spend so much time on their phones that they can’t finish chores or homework.

What does your class think?

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