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Phones for Elementary School Kids?

I came upon a post on Facebook by a friend of mine (Aaron Patterson) and decided to chime in here.  He posted the following question:

Here are my thoughts: Nine year olds don’t need one unless they will be somewhere where you might need to contact them/or them you, in case of an emergency. Like a camp, or an after school program. At that age, my kids got  flip phones with no internet access. Even as preteens/early teens, my older one’s “smartphone” has a very restrictive setting. (No data plan, wifi only) and any internet is strictly filtered. No social media.

Call me backwards, I don’t care. I’ve known too many people who put no limits (or very laxed limits) on their kids’ internet/phone/computer access, and the child at worst had gotten into terrible trouble as a result. At best, they became anti-social, or Phone Zombies that would rather spend time on their phone than talk to their family members.

Do we really need to raise kids into becoming phone zombies at so young an age? Don’t we want them to know how wonderful life can be without a phone? “Oh, I will make rules about it, and they will know not to use the phone at the dinner table,” you say.

Good luck.

Report back to me in a year and tell me how it’s going.

If it worked, congratulations. But I’ve known many parents who bemoan the fact that they’ve lost their young kids to their iphones, ipads, and laptops. Is that a hill you, as a parent are willing to die upon?

It will be hard enough when they get older and “must” have smartphones and computers…but I want my kids not to be dependent on them, to know the difference of life without gadgets, so they won’t become internet zombies.CB-Zombies1

My kids are not lacking for anything in social awareness. Nothing that matters anyway. They have a life, they are happy, healthy, going out to play, exercising, taking music lessons, self-driven to do well in school, interacting with live people all the time. What are they missing out on? Selfies, the latest fashion trends, stupid memes, click trails that lead to stuff that leads to porn?

They can reach their friends on the phone, even texting (though limited), and they can find everything they need information-wise through internet access which has filtered out all the trash out there that goes from wasting time, to flat-out horrible content that nobody needs. One day they will be making their own choices. But by then they’ll know the difference between a life independent of tech/internet, and a life that feels somehow incomplete without–and I daresay, addicted to it. And they’ll be able to make a more informed choice than those who know no other way.

What’s your take on this? Let me know in the comments below.


Joshua Graham is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, winner of the International Book Award and Forward National Literature Award. His thrillers include DARKROOM, LATENT IMAGE and BEYOND JUSTICE, and TERMINUS. Graham's works have been characterized as thought-provoking page-turners.

Legal Notice: All information on this website and blog are from Mr. Graham's personal experience and insight and should not be viewed in any way, directly or inferred, as qualified professional advice.

All creative writing on this website or Mr. Graham's books: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. (novels, short stories)

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