What To Give Your Child Instead Of A Smartphone
The rise in gadget addiction is astonishing. Over the last ten years, we’ve witnessed a surge in the use of digital devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Unfortunately, gadget addiction isn’t just reported in adults. The number of kids and teens addicted to some form of digital device is also rising. Parents are now becoming extremely concerned with the amount of time their child spends on their device.
Phones for kids can be useful. However, statistics are showing that 47% of parents think their child is addicted to their smartphone. Studies also show that teens who spend more than 5 hours on a digital device are likely to have significantly reduced sleep.
But what’s the alternative? In this modern-day and age, it seems like it’s impossible to keep your kids away from technology. It makes up a huge part of society — both as a useful educational tool and for entertainment.
In this article, we’re going to go through the why your child doesn’t need a smartphone, how to explain to them why, and some of the alternatives you can give you child instead.
- Why Your Child Doesn’t Need A Smartphone
- Explaining to Your Child That They Don’t Need A Smartphone
- How To Prevent Gadget Addiction
- 10 Alternatives To Smartphones
- When Is Your Child Old Enough To Have A Smartphone?
- Keep your kids entertained
Why Your Child Doesn’t Need A Smartphone
There are many major benefits to allowing your kids to use technological devices such as cellphones, computers, and tablets.
Using these devices for educational purposes can be extremely beneficial, as your child will have instant access to all the educational material and tools they’ll need to succeed in education.
However, there are many downfalls to the consistent use of technology. As previously stated, studies are now showing that there’s a growing concern for children who could be addicted to their digital device.
Here are a few reasons why your child doesn’t need a smartphone.
Constant use of a smartphone or other digital device can lead to a significant reduction in the amount — and quality — of sleep.
The screens on digital devices such as smartphones emit a specific frequency of light — also known and “blue light». Blue light is known to have a considerable impact on your body’s ability to produce melatonin — the sleep hormone.
The use of blue light has been shown to have a stimulating effect on humans, which is great during the day to help us get tasks completed.
However, too much exposure to blue light-emitting screens can confuse our brain. Blue light can dramatically affect our quality and quantity of sleep — which can severely impact how our children grow and develop.
With a cellular or digital device, you kids will have instant access to any information and content they choose. This is both positive and negative.
As previously discussed, smart devices can have a positive impact on how our children learn, as they have access to millions of educational resources.
However, this ability to access almost anything can come with severe consequences. If you’re not using proper parental controls, your kids will be able to gain access to malicious content, such as pornography and violent videos.
Having access to malicious content can seriously harm your child’s development. Studies are now showing the dramatic impact pornograph can have on our brains.
Affects Social Skills
Although mobile phones are primarily used for social networking, there’s no doubt that these devices can have consequences when it comes to the development of social skills.
Smartphones could lead to your child becoming distracted from their surroundings. This could lead them to become less conversational, and thus affecting how they develop the essential social skills for life.
Studies are now showing how cells usage could be directly linked to a child’s ability to sense and understand the emotions of others — which is another vital component needed for proficient social skills.
Explaining to Your Child That They Don’t Need A Smartphone
Smartphones have almost become essential for modern-day living. With this in mind, we understand how difficult it could be to explain to your child that they do not need a telephone.
The best way to explain to your child that they don’t need to use a smartphone is to provide them with all of the facts (some of which we’ve previously mentioned).
By showing your child how smartphone and constant digital device usage can impede their ability to sleep, socialise, and how they grow and develop, they will fully understand the consequences of cellphones.
It can be unproductive just to tell your kids «no». Explaining the facts will help them accept your decision to limit their use of smartphones — until they’re old enough.
How To Prevent Gadget Addiction
There are several steps you can take to prevent gadget addiction. Here are some of the main things you can do.
Parental Controls: Set Time Limits
Setting time limits is an excellent way to prevent your kids from suffering from gadget addiction. There are many apps available that enable you to have advanced parental controls — including the Find My Kids app.
Google is now offering a service called «Family Link», which enables parents to set time limits on Android devices and Chromebooks.
Time limits will also help reduce the amount of overall time that your child is spending looking at digital screens, thus will have a significantly positive impact on their sleep.
Clubs & Extracurricular Activities
Another great way to prevent your child from becoming addicted to gadgets is to encourage them to take up other activities.
This could be as simple as getting them to play outside with their friends or organising trips out — going swimming or taking them to the park.
You could also get them to join a club, such as a sports team, a dance school, or even the Guides or Scouts. Extracurricular activities may also be beneficial and provide a place for your child to socialise with their classmates.
Keeping your child occupied — away from smartphones — can be as simple as taking them out for some fresh air. Not only will this reduce the impact of smartphone and digital device usage, but will also improve how they develop and grow.
Kids most often use smartphones and digital devices for entertainment purposes. Gaming is a vast industry, with popular games and apps now readily available at little to no cost.
Instead of allowing your child to spend hours playing games on their phone, provide them with alternatives. Board games are an ideal way to keep your kids entertained while interacting with them.
Monopoly, Scrabble, and Pictionary are all brilliant ways to keep your kids occupied without having to give them a smartphone or digital device. These games also help your kids develop math and language skills, while also improve their social skills.
Keeping your child occupied without using a digital device may be tough in this modern age. However, having a collection of alternative games to play with your child can be an extremely effective way of reducing their exposure to smartphones while encouraging positive, character-building principles.
10 Alternatives To Smartphones
Here are some more alternatives you can give you child instead of a cell.
#1 GPS Smartwatch
GPS smartwatches are the perfect alternative to a smartphone — especially for parents who still want to keep in touch with their child when they’re not with them.
Using a GPS smartwatch, you’ll be able to track your child’s location at all times, while being able to contact them through calls and messages.
#2 Screenless Cell Phones
Screenless cell phones for kids are growing in popularity — especially as they do away with distracting displays.
These gadgets are an excellent way for you to keep in touch with your child without them having to look at a screen.
Although Amazon’s Kindle still has a screen, it’s entirely different from the displays on smartphones.
Kindles are an easy way to keep your kids entertained with books — they can be downloaded directly onto the device.
#4 MP3 Player or iPod Shuffle
Everyone loves music. You can keep your kids entertained by providing them with an MP3 player or iPod Shuffle — the latter is notable for not having a screen.
You can load your child’s favourite songs onto their device and allow them to listen to music for hours on end — keeping them entertained.
#5 Engraving Art
Engraving art craft sets have been a popular choice for many years. They’re a great way to get your kids feeling creative — sketching out different pictures at patterns to create an amazing, reflective effect.
#6 Craft Sets
Craft sets can come in many various forms. The main idea is to keep your child occupied using different arts and crafts.
This will help them to develop and explore their imagination and creative side.
#7 Board Games
As previously mentioned, board games can be a great alternative — keeping your kids entertained without having to use digital devices.
Board games can be both fun and educational while encouraging your child to interact with others, which will ultimately improve their social skills.
This one may need your supervision, but baking is a great way to keep your kids entertained.
Encourage your child to come up with some awesome ideas for cookies and cakes, and work with them to help bake them. Again, this is something both fun and educational, and will keep your child entertained.
#9 Musical Instruments
Musical instruments can prove to be a brilliant hobby for kids to master, which could keep them entertained for hours.
Gifting your child an instrument such as a guitar or keyboard can be a brilliant way for your child to learn a new skill. It will help to reinforce discipline associated with mastering an art form.
This one may seem old fashioned (especially to your kids). However, getting your children to read books will work wonders — helping them to develop their vocabulary and knowledge while encouraging them to use their imagination.
Finding a book that your child likes to read can be difficult, but start by determining whether they like facts or fiction. Fictional books will appeal to your child if they already have a keen imagination.
If they like factual books, try buying them books related to a specific topic they love and get them to resight what they’ve learned to you. This can be a great confidence-boosting exercise.
When Is Your Child Old Enough To Have A Smartphone?
If you considered giving your child a smartphone, it can be quite challenging to know what age you should be allowing them to use one.
It is a grey-area. However, if you’re thinking of giving your child a mobile phone, there are some simple things you should keep in mind.
Research has found that 40% of people think that children shouldn’t be allowed access to a smartphone until they’re in middle school (between age 12–14). Too much screen time is the biggest concern among-st participants.
In this day and age, your child will inevitably need to use a smartphone at some point. Instead, the question should be «What age should I allow them certain permissions?».
For example, if your child is between 8-10, you may want to give them a smartphone so they can contact you on their way home from school. If you don’t want them using the device for any other purpose other than contacting you, then you can set parental limitations on how the device is used.
If your child is in their teens, you may want to be less restrictive with your limitations; enabling them to use apps and websites for games and other entertainment.
We recommend not giving your child a phone until it’s essential — not before the age of 5, as this could have a significant impact on their brain development.
As we live in a technological world, you don’t want to deprive your child of access to technology completely. However, when permitting them to do so, you can use parental monitoring apps, such as the Find My Kids app, to monitor how your child is using their device.
Keep your kids entertained
Knowing how to prevent your child from becoming addicted to a digital device can be tough.
We live in a world where everything is instant — we can get access to nearly everything we want in the click of a button.
Although this can be extremely convenient and can help your child have access to an infinite array of learning resources, using digital devices can have some major drawdowns — especially when they’re overused.
Smartphones can have a massive impact on how our children develop. They can also affect sleeping patterns and concentration.
There are many alternatives to smartphones and other digital devices that will help keep your kids entertained — especially if you’re concerned about them spending too much time looking at screens.
Try some of the suggestions above, including alternative forms of entertainment and parental control apps, to help ensure your children grow and develop with technology sensibly.
If you know someone who may find this article useful, share it with them to see if it will help them too.