To Give Or Not To Give
Credit: Media Literacy Council Singapore
As Singapore is one of the most connected countries in the world, more and more Singaporean teenagers and even pre-teens own smartphones these days.
Getting a smartphone is something your child will likely ask for sooner or later. When the time comes, deciding whether to give or not to give them one may be a dilemma for parents.
While the smartphone brings about many benefits for your children, there are also various disadvantages that may result in undesirable consequences.
- Stay connected with your children
We cannot deny the convenience smartphones bring to our daily lives. You and your child can send a short text message to each other at any time of the day via cheap or even free smartphone applications like WhatsApp and Viber.
- Smartphone as an educational tool
Smartphone applications, compared to assessment books, allow for more engaging and interactive learning. The game-like nature of applications also make learning more fun and lasting.
- Teaching the concept of responsibility
Use the smartphone to teach your children about the concept of being responsible for their personal belongings. They are likely to put in their utmost effort in ensuring their precious phones are maintained in tip-top condition and kept safely.
- Smartphone-induced sleeplessness
Smartphones have “created a whole host of temptations for children” and are causing the new generation to give up on their much needed eight hours of sleep (1). This bad habit of not getting enough sleep may lead to your children facing serious problems such as being late for school, not being able to pay full attention in class and even poor performance in school. More than just a behavioural problem, your children’s unwillingness to sleep can also cause detrimental health issues such as obesity.
- Isolation from family
Uncontrolled smartphone usage may cause your children to isolate themselves from the rest of the family. Keeping a close relationship with your children through constant communication is important to prevent them from turning rebellious, especially when they are going through puberty.
- Shocking credit card bills
In order to download applications, whether they are paid or free, you probably will need to key in your credit card details before you can do so. But we need to be cautious because this required action could lead to shocking credit card bills at the end of the month. Although many applications can be downloaded for free, there are often hidden costs involved.
Tips for parents
To give or not to give? Before you make your decision, you can ask yourself:
- Is my child at the appropriate age to receive a smartphone?
- Does my child really need a smartphone?
- How do I foresee my child using the smartphone if I do get him/her one?
- How much control should I have over his/her smartphone usage if he/she owns one?