According to Influence Central, kids are getting their first cell phone at about age 10 and one-third of kids have a social media account before they get 12 years of age. 11% of these kids had a social media account before they were 10! While I have strong feelings about kids this young messing around with devices the sad thing is brands are fully aware of these same stats and they are trying to get as much of their advertising toward these young new and bold users. This same study showed kids are using tablets in cars, watching videos on those smartphones, and using basic text messages. They understand Snapchat, clicking on to the internet and off they go. I just hope there is some adult supervision going on. I am in the business of technology and social media and you would think I would all over this a being the cheerleader for mobile devices. But at what price are we enabling our children before they are still in grade school?
I look back at my young life at that age and a Tonka Truck and playing “Mouse Trap” was more than enough entertainment for me along with getting out in the mountain air with my friends. We already know the seriousness of teens using smartphones for private messaging, sexting, and their young minds do not understand the long-term consequences of how much harm can be done from what they think is a fun or private moment with their boy or girlfriend. I strongly urge parents to think hard about when your child is ready to have their own smart phone. Do not cave in to “Well Jacob or Melissa has one! Why can’t I?” You not only have to look at the costs associated with an expensive smart phone but those contracts for an extra line and then the monitoring of what your child is doing with them.
The argument can be made “Well my kid having a phone allows me to stay in touch with them.” and yes, you can actually track them as to where they are through the GPS but take the time to educate, and know the maturity level of your child for the responsibility that go with it. Like it or not at that young age, you need to check their phones to see what they are doing with it and control what apps they can and can not have. Ahh give me back my Mouse Trap Game!
FDMC Social & Digital Media