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Cell Phones For Children: A Clear And Present Danger

1591 words - 6 pages

It starts in grade school now, “Why can’t I have a cell phone; everybody else does?” From the perspective of a Generation Y or the Millennials, a person born between 1984- 2002, owning a cell phone did not take place until after high school. This makes it hard to imagine an eight year old toting around a cell phone. Parents have to make a decision based on a child’s maturity level as well as asking the big question: Will ownership of a cell phone help or hinder the child? While cell phones can be a security measure for children, when a child is given a cell phone at an early age, the doorway to possible problems is opened.
There are a few reasons why buying a cell phone for children can be beneficial. When a child is in need of assistance, a child can quickly call emergency services. A child with allergies or who may need to take medication on a schedule might need reminders. Using a cell phone a parent can send reminders to a child, or call to confirm medication have been taken. Cell phones also provide a way for children to keep constant communication between family members. By using cell phones, families can coordinate after school activities, and by sharing online calendars, which can cut down on over scheduling issues. When parents use GPS technology they are able to improve the way they are able to connect, communicate, and locate one another. Quain (2012), "Parents are also able to locate a child in case of emergency. This basic level of security can often be handled by gps services and apps provided by individual wireless carriers”. Cellular companies have also stepped up the family safety factor with services like the Sprint Family Locator, or Verizon Wireless Family (Maffei, 2012). There are also third-party monitoring software that can help track and monitor a child's cell phone, GPS, text messages, and Internet usage. Quain (2012), "Since parents are not always informed, monitoring software may be needed to alert and then block potentially harmful online behavior”. This preventive tool can help parents keep predators and stalkers at bay. When using monitoring software parents can be alerted about inappropriate contact online and can protect against cyber bullying.
There is a variety of reasons why purchasing a cell phone for children can lead to potential problems. Without proper education and awareness, a child can stumble into the pitfalls of cell phone ownership. One of the most frightening issues is the rise in adult behavior in children such as sexting. Sexting is sending sexually explicit messages, images, or videos using a cell phone or instant messenger. Matte (n.d.), “A joint study by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl suggests that 20% of teens (ages 13-19) and 33% of young adults (ages 20-26) have shared nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves either via text or by posting online”. Hasinoff (2013), “If caught sexting, it can lead to legal prosecution, whether they are...

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