Kids and Mobile Devices

by David Hung

The average person’s smartphone might include Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter for social media. There might be a few email apps, sports apps, and some of a more shameful nature, like Candy Crush Saga, stashed in a folder labeled “productivity.” But is this setup exclusive to the average tech savvy young adult? Hopefully. After all, how strange would it be if parents ran around town taking selfies and adding them to My Story on Snapchat? Stranger still, imagine that children in preschool have access to the same apps you hope your parents will never use.
According to the Guardian however, the reality is that roughly three quarters of children have their own smartphones by the ripe age of four. Some may question whether or not parents are making a good choice. Others may question what business does a toddler, who most likely has no use for social media, have with such an expensive electronic device. The answer is probably some excruciatingly dull game he or she believes to be the pinnacle of mobile gaming and entertainment. Between reminiscing about the possessions you once had as a child and comparing it to all the newfangled doohickeys children have today at their disposal, you might find yourself beginning to sound several generations older than you actually are.
Keep in mind however that, as Matilde Irigoyen, chair of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Einstein Medical Center, even parents regularly resort to smartphones for less than intellectually salubrious reasons.
Clearly, the ubiquity of smart devices and their distracting nature is not bound to any one age group and, as Michael Levine, founding director of Joan Ganz Cooney Center of research, says, mobile devices aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The point is mostly everyone is uncomfortable seeing younger and younger children obtain access to more and more expensive electronic devices. As technology becomes more readily available, it also becomes increasingly expendable. It only makes sense that children are the recipients of the next best thing. Why do we never fail to find this fact so surprising? Maybe because we want to maintain a sense of exclusivity. Whatever the reason, we should probably get used to seeing kids wander around with phones bigger than their faces.