15 January 2013

The Dangers of a Smartphone

It wasn't so long ago that if you wanted to know the land speed of a rhino you would have to go to the library and look through the card catalog or browse an encyclopedia. The information age has rendered the encyclopedia obsolete. Instead we carry unlimited knowledge in our pockets as technology has pushed the internet into a ever-shrinking box. In addition to access to information, we are constantly connected to the world around us. Communication with anyone on this small planet we call earth takes no more than the touch of a button. We can even choose whether we want to see their face or just hear their voice. Everyone is carrying these personal devices. Even your kids.

My son is eleven. For nearly a year now, he has been begging for a smartphone and for that same year I have said no. With all it's wonderful advantages, the proliferation of smartphones has some risk for child.

1) The internet is a scary place. Pornography and violence are unrestrained.
2) "Sexting" is getting out of control. There is not a month that goes by that I don't hear of a child in elementary or middle school getting expelled for inappropriate pictures sent by text.
3) Phones and plans are expensive. The responsibility is enormous for children.

A lot of parents think that it's OK to trust your child with these risk. Call me old fashioned, but I remember coming up just fine without a phone.
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