Cell phones: the childhood addiction

Erin Schmidt is a freshman at Starr’s Mill High School. She wrote the following op-ed article as part of a class assignment in Brandon Kendall’s 9th grade Literature and Composition class.

The continuous rise of children that are becoming anti-social and addicted to their phones is becoming a serious issue that needs to be emphasized.

Why do parents want their children to become addicted at such a young age?”

— Guest Writer Erin Schmidt

From ages as young as three or four years old, children are receiving their first phone, a smartphone. The real question is: Why do parents want their children to become addicted at such a young age?

Some might propose that parents don’t want to say “no” to their children, or they simply want their children to always be entertained.

Some children might be influenced by their peers, which is a huge issue in today’s society. It might be “uncool” if you don’t have a certain type of smartphone, or if you have no phone at all.

Jacqueline Howard, in a 2017 article, explained the social pressure of smartphones in a parent interview. “‘Sophia entered fourth grade and became the only student in her class without a smartphone, Zaske said, and the girl noticed,’” Sara Zaske, mother of Sophia Zaske, said.

Sophia Zaske was not used to everyone around her having a smartphone, and this means that her parents weren’t constantly on their phones, unlike other parents.

When you are accustomed to something at such a young age, then you will continue to have that habit for the rest of your life. Therefore, if a child is addicted to their smartphone when they are young, then they will most likely be addicted their whole life.

[I]f a child is addicted to their smartphone when they are young, then they will most likely be addicted their whole life.”

— Guest Writer Erin Schmidt

Ana Homayoun, in the New York Times article “Is Your Child a Phone ‘Addict’?” writes, “A 2016 survey from Common Sense Media found that half of teenagers felt addicted to their devices, and 78 percent checked their devices at least hourly.”

If there were an age where someone could get their first phone, all of these problems would be solved, since children wouldn’t become so addicted at such a young age.

According to information provided in Brian X. Chen’s article, “What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone?,” “No two kids are the same, and there’s no magic number.”

This statement indicates that having one specific age wouldn’t help much since every child is different. While having smartphones at such a young age can be harmful, they can also be useful. Children can keep in contact with long distance friends and family, and can use their smartphones to be educated with educational apps.

Although this is true, parents need to avoid the idea of getting their children smartphones at such a young age and disrupting their futures.