Yoram Yasur Blume: Advantages and disadvantages of smartphones in children
The use of smartphones in children is a reality of the days we live. Cell phones are “indispensable” in the lives of adults, but increasingly occupy more space in the existence of children. Of course, like everything that has to do with information technologies, it has enthusiastic promoters confronting decided detractors. Parents, pedagogues, psychologists, technologists, publicists, manufacturers, traders … Everyone has something to say on this subject. There are reasoned and reasonable arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of using smartphones in children.
Yoram Yasur Blume: To make the best decision about whether or not to introduce a smartphone into the lives of our children, it is good to listen to both parties and decide what is most convenient for our family dynamics.
Advantages of the use of smartphone in children:
We live in the age of technology. It is becoming more frequent to see the children pending the smartphone. The advantages that children can interact and navigate through these devices are located in different orders.
– They are part of reality: Yoram Yasur Blume: Denying the child access to the smartphone is meaningless, when these computers are part of the reality of children. Their parents live connected, other relatives and friends of the school have them and use them daily. Preventing ludic use is contradictory when children are allowed to play with computers and tablets.
– The smartphone in classes is an opportunity: Yoram Yasur Blume: Teachers who allow the use of smartphones in children while they are in classes can take advantage of the opportunity to guide responsible use of the devices. They can teach them to use educational tools, look for information of interest for the subject and promote rigorous research on simple plagiarism.
– Security and contact: The technological parents use the cell phone to be in contact with the children. Yoram Yasur Blume: Parents and children can communicate with each other in case of any eventuality or emergency. Many cell phones are equipped with GPS systems, which allows parents to track the equipment and, therefore, know where the child is.
– Incentives responsibility: When parents allow the use of smartphones in children, they are taught to be responsible. Not only with the care of the equipment, but also with the time and the uses they can make with the device.
– Help the memory: Yoram Yasur Blume: Smartphones can help children to use calendars to know the dates of exams, take notes of voice to remember something of interest, as well as save the phones of parents, teachers, and friends. You can also take a picture of an outline on the board, which will help you in the learning process.
– Unlimited internet access: The child does not have to wait to get to the home computer to surf the internet. You can do it from your smartphone anywhere and at any time. Thus, you can search for all types of information of interest at the time you require it.
– Positive values are fed: The smartphone tools allow the child to be supportive of causes that motivate him and promote positive values such as love of neighbor or generosity. For example: the child takes and shares photos of abandoned dogs or cats and uses social networks to find them a home.
Disadvantages of using smartphones in children
Of course, not everything is kindness. There are also shadows, risks, and dangers behind promoting the use of smartphones in our children. The disadvantages of the early introduction of children into the world of technologies also operate at different levels.
– Fine motor skills are affected: A child needs to learn to grab a pencil and learn to write before learning to use the smartphone. The pincer that he makes with his index finger and thumb is one of the fundamental milestones of the psychomotor development of every child. The early and excessive introduction of cell phones and tablets takes the child away from this simple but fundamental movement.
– Learning written language is limited: Children who interact through chats, text messages or social networks have to shorten words, to communicate only with images, which can affect the development of written language. This is a basic tool for their subsequent performance in higher stages of education.
– Social isolation: The child is self-absorbed using the smartphone. Play, surf, interact on social networks, but do not communicate with the human beings around you. It does not matter if they are their parents, brothers, or friends. The child isolates himself and is only comfortable facing the screen.
– Little mobility and more childhood obesity: The excessive use of the smartphone leaves the child sitting on a piece of furniture or lying on the bed. Physical activity and outdoor activity decrease, which has serious repercussions on the quality of life of the child. The sedentary lifestyle is established, and the problems of childhood obesity begin.
– Loss of privacy: Smartphones have all the tools to keep track of daily life. The child takes pictures and makes videos that he shares on all types of social networks. Life is focused on getting a “like”, a comment or win a follower. The privacy is exposed.
– Victim or victimizer of cybercrimes: Yoram Yasur Blume: The uncontrolled use of the smartphone exposes children to cyberbullying or sexual predators. The child can mistakenly upload an intimate photograph or video and be victim of the exponentially multiplied harassment that social networks mean. Or on the contrary, you can photograph or share a private content of another child and become a stalker.
– Negative values awaken: The dependence on the smartphone makes him boast of the model that has or envy the newest model that another child has. The child loses sensitivity to excessive exposure to violent games that he consumes without control; or, in the eagerness to take a picture to ridicule someone, does not stop to think about the damage that can cause.
In short: what do we parents do?
The range of advantages and disadvantages regarding the use of smartphones in children is widespread. The decision is made by the parents, not the children. It is the responsibility of the parents to control the use that the children make of the devices and access to the internet. There are many applications for this, so it is a matter of being informed, evaluating, and deciding.
Likewise, it is important that we accompany children throughout the process of literacy and digital education. We cannot let the cell phone be the new nanny or just wait for security applications to do the job. We have to be there, attentive, and present. Know what children do with their smartphone, what content they visit and what they share.