Smartphone

Smartphone usage for kids

My eldest daughter will be turning 11 next month and doesn’t have a smartphone.

We bought her a tablet for educational purposes only. It contains educational apps and a few games. This tablet has no social media apps on it.

She can use our laptops or her tablet to access the internet for information. We monitor her internet usage when sourcing information for projects or assignments. But having restricted use of a tablet or laptop is not the same as having your very own smartphone.

Reasons we not getting our daughter a smartphone

Don’t think for a second that this question of when she’s getting one didn’t pop up yet.

She started inquiring about getting a smartphone two years ago.

Both my husband and I upgraded to new phones and the old ones were just lying around.   Although we had spare phones that was still in a pretty good condition but it wasn’t just a case of; oh here is a phone lying around so you can have it as a hand me down.

Our answer to her question was pretty simple “NO – you are way too young to get a smartphone”.  This wasn’t a random decision but something that we thought through even before she asked for one.

Being a parent can be hard work and saying no to your child isn’t always easy but this was the easiest “no” that we ever had to say.

She still tried to negotiate and substantiate reasons for her to have one, even though our answer was no.  So we gave her the platform to state her case which was three fold.  The first was that most of her classmates had smartphones.  The second was that she could connect with her friends, cousins and grandparents and the third was that we can contact her should she go on a school outing or stay after school for extra mural activities.

For some these reasons might be convincing but not to us.  So we answered her on all three points.

Firstly our kids know that we don’t buy them everything that their hearts desire and if other kids have it, it doesn’t mean they going to get it as well – so that answered her first reason.

Secondly, the fact that she want to use it to communicate with friends and family.  Our answer to that was “so if you are going to chat to your friends, cousins and grandparents over the phone, what will you possibly chat about when you see them at school or when you going to visit them.”

Thirdly, that a smart phone would be good when she goes on outings or have extra murals – why a smartphone and not just a normal phone where you can just send an sms or make a phone call.  Plus at the school that my girls attend, parents accompany learners on school outings as they need to lift. We have formed a parent whatsapp group should there be a need to request information about the whereabouts of our kids or anything school related.  The same goes for extra murals there is always a teacher’s number we have. So functionally this is working well and we don’t see the need for her to have a smartphone.

She didn’t accept these reasons very well. “That’s not fair – you so old fashioned and living in the dark ages”.

Are we old fashioned and are we the only goofballs that haven’t budged in giving in to our daughter’s request for a smartphone?

Our reasons for not getting her one any time soon are as follows:

A smartphone just opens up all the possibilities of having access to the world out there. The internet is such a wide web and as parents we need to be very careful that we don’t give our kids unrestricted access as they might just click on something that can be harmful and dangerous.  Monitoring usage of a phone and what she will connect to can be very difficult if she will be carrying it with her all the time.

We want our daughter to have her own thoughts and identity – social media influences that at such a young age.

I want her to pay attention to what is happening around her – to be aware of her surrounding and to have real face to face conversations with her friends and family members.  Kids are just glued to their phones and nothing else matters around them.  They won’t even pay attention to the people in a room and join in on the conversation.

We don’t want her to become obsessed with the phone, constantly having to check for messages or social updates.

We want our daughter to be a child for the longest time.  Somehow smartphones make children feel less attracted to outside activities as they constantly want to be on their phones.

She is still too young to take on that responsibility of owning a smartphone.  Smartphones are expensive.  These phones will break, get lost or stolen. Parents feel the need to replace it. Kids will misplace their smartphones and then end up finding it when they’ve already received another one.

Having a smartphone is expensive, besides it costing a lot to either buy it cash or take out a contract, there is the added expense of taking out insurance and still buying data and airtime.  And with kids downloading music, games and all sorts of apps – data will be needed at all times.

As parents, we sometimes need to stand firm on our decisions and for now we are not budging and are not convinced that there is a real need for her to have a smartphone.  So yes we have an old fashion stance on this matter – but that’s ok.

Related reads for interest Dad, can I please have some…!


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13 comments on “Smartphone – why our daughter doesn’t have one”

    • Well my daughter will be 11 next month and I reckon we will only consider it when she is 16 or is that pushing it a bit.

  1. You can tell your daughter I made my kids wait until the end of year 7 (start of the second year of high school, so 13, for many reasons but for me the big one was I think it’s bad that kids get a $1000 toy and think of it as nothing special. Even if it’s your old phone, the cost of the plan is $1000 and they think of it as theirs and something they need. I also think with gamers, do you really want them sitting in lessons with distractions? I know some schools take them off the kids in class but I think that’s a disservice to the teachers. They shouldn’t have to babysit our children, they should focus on the lessons they need to teach. It gets harder and harder tho, the more the majority have them. However I have learnt “Being weird” means the arguments about staying out at 3 am are less (because they know I’m weird and don’t care that all their friends can do it, so arguing won’t get them anywhere.) #FortheloveofBLOG

    • I’m also thinking more high school but only for emergencies. Not to be constantly on the phone. Social media is my biggest fear and to have them exposed to it now already is a no-no. Lol – we are the weirdos. Thanks for reading my post.#fortheloveofBLOG.

  2. I couldn’t agree more,smartphones open the door the internet and all the creeps and inappropriate content out there plus it’s good for our children to first develop their own personality instead of being influenced by social media. Us grown ups sometimes get influenced so I can only imagine young girls who will feel the pressure to compete and be perfect ( even though perfect doesn’t exist). #fortheloveofBlog

    • So true in what you are say – there are so much content out there that they have access to once exploring the internet not to mention social media. Thanks for reading my post.#fortheloveofBLOG

  3. I think a smartphone is a huge responsibility and teens should have to earn it by building trust. I definitely think a standard phone for calling home is great but ones that can have apps require careful supervision. It’s a scary world online! #BlogCrush

  4. I whole-heartedly agree with you on this one. When a kids first reaction to a situation nowadays is to film it on their phone rather than react to life, then something has gone drastically wrong. I fully intend to not let my daughter have a phone till she’s older too. Great post, thanks for linking up with #fortheloveofblog x

  5. An interesting debate. I love how your daughter formed her argument and presented it to you, she’s learned a skill right there. I remember getting my first phone at 11, it was SO basic, it could be used for calls only, not even texts. I didn’t have a smart phone until I was 25 and didn’t die. It can be hard though when other children all have one as the socialisation carries on outside of school/social situations and so much can happen over an evening. On the one hand it’s good not to get involved in that drama but on the other hand I wonder if it can be ostracising – a thought that’s been bouncing around unanswered in my head following my teenage sister in law’s recent experiences with school friends. Your reasons are pretty sound though and it’s good that you have thought it through and are consistent in your decision. #BlogCrush

    • Thanks. Well as only 3 of her friends out of 7 have smartphones – it is not a matter of fitting in yet or causing a social barrier as she doesn’t have one. I personally think it is just a nice to have for her and she doesn’t realize the responsibility that come with having a smartphone.#Blogcrush

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