Should kids have their own cell phones?
Taha Bilal Hayee—Grade 5, Washington D.C. Jama’at
Should kids be able to have their own cell phones? I am not sure. The cell phone is an important invention of the modern times. It has revolutionized the ways of communicating, socializing, and entertainment. Cell phones have been in use since 1970s, when Dr. Martin Cooper invented the first prototype. Since then, cell phones have been upgraded into mini-computers or smart phones of today.
Cell phones have an impact on people in many different ways. Young children also use cell phones. But this can have positive and negative effects. This essay will discuss the pros and cons of giving cellphones to children under the age of 14.
The first advantage of giving a cell phone to a child is that it helps keep them in contact with family at all times. Especially, when a child is going to the Ijtima or another event outside the city and the parents cannot accompany the child. In such cases, if the child has a cell phone, he or she could call or text and keep in touch with parents. In another situation, in case a child is lost or separated from the family in a huge crowd or a mall, the child could call the parents and let them know where he is.
Smartphones also have utilities like a dictionary, calculator, and weather forecast. If a child is sitting down to do homework of Math or English, cell phone calculator or dictionary could be handy. Likewise, weather forecast on the cell phone is always useful to plan your weekly sports and games.
Having a cell phone can also remind you to do stuff. For example, if you have to go to a friend’s house, or submit an assignment, a reminder can be activated on the cell phone. Also, if the child is forgetful, he or she can leave reminders to help refresh his or her memories. Many new apps on the smart phones have prayer times as a good reminder to alert you when it is time for Prayer.
Cell phones have apps that can help in many other ways. If you need a quick snack like pizza for you and your friends, apps of Pizza Hut or Dominos are always handy for a quick delivery.
The Internet is an enormous mall of knowledge, games, videos, and pictures. Many cell phones have Internet connectivity which can help you find the nearest grocery store, library, or a skating rink. You can also use the Internet to check your email and do research on school projects.
One major disadvantage of having a cell phone is that it wastes a lot of your important time. It can affect your performance in your studies and create a big distraction from reading books. For instance, if you have a test on Monday and it is just the start of the weekend; if at the end of the weekend, you are still playing games on your cell phone, you can pretty much guarantee failure in your test.
Another disadvantage is that you cannot have fun on vacation when you keep checking emails and texting. Although you have finally gotten a break from school, yet you keep on getting emails and texts from your friends. Your mom and dad keep complaining about how much your eyes have been stuck to your phone. When your break ends, you have had no fun because you never took your eyes off the cell phone. Hence, instead of being relaxed you feel exhausted.
Yet another harmful affect is that people are only interested in the latest version of cell phones and waste money on constantly replacing phones. Recently, I saw on the television that two men were fighting to get into the apple store, to get the new iPhone 5s. Following this brawl, both were arrested by the police. This shows the extent of greed and carelessness on part of human beings in pursuit of cell phones.
A common danger of using cell phones, especially by kids, is the distraction cell phones can cause while walking on the side walk, or crossing the street. A child, texting on cell phone while walking in a busy street of a city like New York can get hit by a car and get seriously injured, or even killed. That is not only hurting the child, but the entire family and the neighborhood. So cell phones can sometimes be life threatening for young children.
Another significant drawback is that cell phones can ruin children’s eyesight. In my own case, I have to now wear glasses most of the time, and that is just because I used to play a lot on my dad’s cell phone. According to a recent study conducted on British youth revealed that smart phones were capable of causing short sightedness in people of young age.
In the above paragraphs, I have argued both for and against giving cell phones to children. It is obvious that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages of providing cell phones to young children. For children, cell phones are just an item of entertainment, and a big distraction from study. It is also injurious for their health and safety. It is thus concluded that young children should not have the cell phones until they are mature enough to handle it responsibly.