Opinion: Phones are an important part of growing up

Ariana Papcun, Writer

In this day and age, phones are common amongst children and teens. Some kids can make immature decisions with getting a phone, which can result in phones having disadvantages and advantages. This can lead to parents wondering when kids should get a phone. 

Recently, children are receiving cell phones at a much younger age. According to a report done by Childwise, 47 percent of children aged five to 10 own a cell phone. The report also says that most children own a phone by age seven. In spite of that, there is not a big problem with giving a child a cell phone at such a young age.

Phones have several benefits. They help if a child is in a situation where they feel uncomfortable and unsafe, and would want to call someone for help. Also, if a child wants to talk to out-of-town friends or family members, they can call or text them. Phones can be very helpful, and can encourage friendships. For instance, if a friend is struggling with something, they could call that friend and offer comfort and support. Though, it still is very important to have face-to-face communication.

Whether a parent gives their young child or teen a phone depends on how the child behaves: if they are immature or mature. “No two kids are the same, and there’s no magic number… A kid’s age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level,” James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media stated in an article with Inc.

If a child is 12 years old and is very responsible and trustworthy, it would be better to give that child a phone rather than an immature 15-year-old who could lose it easily. However, it is still the parents’ decision. 

Kids and teens should be able to have their own freedom when it comes to using a cell phone and not be controlled in everything they do on their cell phone. Parents should still establish boundaries as to what the child does on social media and other platforms that can be dangerous if you look at the wrong side. 

Phones can have disadvantages too. When in school, some students have a hard time putting their phones down or away when a teacher asks. Phones in school can cause students to get detentions or suspensions. Although this could cause trouble, it still is important for a child to have direct communication with their parents, close friends and family members. 

Getting a phone varies from parent to parent. The age a child should get one really depends on the child’s maturity and if the parents decide it is the right decision.