The amount of teenagers who own a smartphone has increased dramatically in recent years. It was somehow decided that having a smartphone is an absolute necessity, and teens carry theirs with them every moment of the day! They use it while driving, sitting in class, and going to the bathroom. Most of them sleep with it by their bed and check it as soon as they wake up! Texting and social networking are primary forms of communication, and doing a Google search is considered research.
As a youth minister, I witness firsthand how addicted teenagers are to their phones. Some students once brought their chargers to church so they could still use their phones during youth group. Apparently leaving them at home to charge and being separated for an hour was too unbearable. Another student once held up his smartphone and said, “This is my life!”
This addiction to smartphones concerns and disgusts me. It seems teenagers are unable to function without them, and it seems parents show no discernment before getting them. They accept the myth that teens need smartphones and provide them with a phone and data. Getting your kid a smartphone doesn’t make their life better; it makes it worse. Here a few reasons why:
Smartphones Foster Addiction
Smart phones foster an addiction to the Internet. Brain scan technology shows that our brains are rewired by constant Internet usage. The brains of Internet addicts look like the brains of drug and alcohol addicts! They also foster an addiction to texting. The average teenager sends or receives about 3700 text messages a month. That averages to about 120 texts per day!
I doubt you would buy your preteen a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of alcohol. Not because it would devastate their health, but because you don’t want them becoming addicted. So why don’t you mind giving your child over to Internet addiction, although research shows it is similar?
Smartphones Increase Danger
Being on the Internet so often exposes your teenager to danger. Websites that contain violence, pornography, and other mature content are easy to find. Spending time on these sites can pervert a young adult’s thinking and corrupt their character. Predatory adults can deceive and befriend teenagers online through social media such as Facebook. It is simply not safe for your child to carry the Internet around with them in their pocket.
Smartphones are Unnecessary
I don’t care what your kids tell you – teenagers do not need smartphones! I had to wait until I started driving to get a standard cellphone. That was eleven years ago, and I still do not own or want a smartphone. And guess what? I’m a healthy and productive person even without one. To be fair, I do own a tablet and access the Internet on it daily. But I only use it when I need it and am not constantly staring at its screen.
What teenagers truly need is to develop qualities such as focus, discipline, and self-control. They also need to learn how to relate well to others. Getting your kid a smartphone makes them less likely to learn these qualities and stunts their personal growth. They don’t need one and are actually better off without one.
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