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EMF Studies

08 January 2017

Should Kids Have Cell Phones? Experts Pick Sides

Should Kids Have Cell Phones? Experts Pick Sidesby John S Kiernan, wallethub.com, 
6 January 2017

Becoming too connected used to be an issue kids had with stuffed animals and pacifiers. Now it’s a matter of smart phones and tablets. And whether this is a positive development remains to be seen.

Sure, growing up in the technology age has its fair share of benefits: instant access to endless educational possibilities and preparation for the jobs of the future, just to name a couple. But it also exposes young people to a host of issues far less benign than anything even the Velveteen Rabbit could throw at you. From radiation exposure and childhood obesity to cyberbullying and sex crimes, kids these days must run a gauntlet of technological issues in order to get into a good college, earn a decent wage and ultimately lead a happy, healthy, prosperous life.

Among the important decisions parents must therefore make – along with screen-time limits and whether to monitor social media – is when to give a child his or her own cell phone. Is there an ideal age? What parental rules and restrictions should accompany the privilege? And, perhaps most importantly, should phones be allowed at school?

Researchers from the London School of Economics found that students in high schools with cell-phone bans received about a week’s worth of additional education each year and scored over 6% better on standardized tests. But how far can we extrapolate such findings, both in terms of younger children and beyond school grounds?

For additional insight that may help guide parents, we posed one simple question – “should kids have cell phones?” – to a panel of leading experts in the fields of education, family studies and technology. You can check out their bios and responses below. And if you’d like to join the discussion, you can share your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the page.

Why Kids Should Not Have Cell Phones

Highlights:
"Infants, toddlers and preschoolers should not have cell phones. The argument has a few simple points - cell phones are expensive, screen time is bad for kids this age, and the kids don’t know what to do with the phones."

Ross Hunter // Director, Washington State Department of Early Learning
"There are several reasons why kids should not have cell phones. Kids with cell phones are likely to spend too much time on them, keeping them from doing more productive things like exercising and reading. There is increasing evidence of addiction to electronic devices, which like any other kind of addiction is destructive. Many kids with cell phones lose sleep because of talking at night or because of being anxious that they do not miss a call, and as a result suffer from headaches and sleepiness during the day, which interferes with learning at school."

David O. Carpenter // Director, Institute for Health and the Environment & Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, University at Albany
"Kids should not have cell phones. I may be alone on this, but I don’t see a real need for them, and I certainly don’t see the benefits for young children. I actually know of a five-year-old child who owns a cell phone. Children’s excessive use of cell phones can lead to issues with both health and safety."

Georgia S. Thompson // Vice President of the Programs and Affiliate Network, National Black Child Development Institute
"We go to great lengths to protect the child brain with car seats and bike helmets, yet we are exposing them now to an agent that many governments control/ban/restrict. Due to their thinner skulls and unique physiology, children can receive twice as much radiation into their brain and up to ten times as much into their skull compared at an adult. Children’s developing brains are the most vulnerable."

Continue reading:
https://wallethub.com/blog/should-kids-have-cell-phones/31058/#theodora-scarato-devra-davis

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