Toying around: Buying smart phones for kids depends on maturity level

02/03/16 by Rennie Detore

My 13 year old niece has a smart phone. She's had one now for a year. Every time I see her, she's doing something on it.
Texting, calling, playing games and simply ignoring the outside world. Not that long ago, she'd never even think about a phone or interacting electronically with friends, but rather stayed more dialed into having fun without the toys and gadgets.
Now, my 13 year old niece is an honor roll student, in all the advanced classes and will drop her phone in a heartbeat to head outside to play softball, badminton or anything else that gets her up and moving and being, what most kids should be, and that is active.

Like this article? You should check out all our Target promo codes!

So I'm not one of those overprotective adults that is telling you in this article that smart phones make for dumb kids. She's not dumb; my niece is very intelligent.
My concern is more about that parents or guardians might be helping this process along and not paying all that much attention to how their kids interact with phones, toys, games and others of that ilk.
If my niece, at 13, wasn't doing well in school, and was losing her grip on being able to communicate effectively (things that smart phones tend to do as far as losing the ability to talk and interact on a social level or simply be distracted all the time), my sister undoubtedly would be stripping her of those privileges or not even would have let her have a phone at all.
But is everyone that is a parent or guardian following that same protocol?
The truth is, I can't believe that is the case. I think kids and smart phones, gadgets and other forms of technology simply don't mix, at least not universally for all kids. I believe some kids can handle it, and others can't.
You also have to define the age in which your child actually needs this sort of device. My niece is involved in a plethora of in school and after school activities, and has plenty of friends and time with them.
Having a phone and a phone number (yes, remember those) is somewhat essential and convenient for everyone in the family that has had to pick her up from somewhere. But far too often parents, grandparents and anyone else who falls under the "gift giver" category tends to ignore the practicality element and age, and instead feels as though a 10 year old needs a cell phone.
Truth be told, that's insane and a really dumb decision to make. Again, just my opinion on what I've seen with my own nieces.
I'm not a parent, but I know that I'd temper my thoughts of cell phones and gadgets when it comes to my children and just how quickly I'd be ready to turn the reigns of technology over to them before I feel it is necessary and appropriate.

Like this article? Sign up to get similar articles sent to your inbox:

Doggie Dolittle: Deciphering your dog filled with many misnomers
No Bull: Bullying exists, but it's how you handle it that determines outcome
Smart Phones, Dumb Kids: Technology takes the simple skills away from our children
David and Goliath: Ortiz and Rodriguez find different post PED paths