Con: Early access to smartphones poses risk to children

Danger from the internet and irresponsibility of younger people has turned children’s phone usage into a debate among kids and parents. Despite benefits, the bad outweighs the good and giving children smartphones is a dangerous idea.

Because phones provide access to so much unfiltered content via the internet, giving a smartphone to a child too young to handle it can be both dangerous and distracting.
Phones are a fantastic invention.
They allow us to contact anyone at any time.
They give us full access to all the information we could want.
While this is incredibly useful and provides a new level of connection previously unheard of, putting that power into a child’s hands is a very dangerous choice.
It also gives children access to harmful content.
Children tend to not know what they are getting themselves into, and could easily stumble into inappropriate content without knowing it.
Graphic content is posted online frequently, often without warning.
An unsupervised child could easily come across something harmful and would be completely unaware.
In some cases, harmful content has been known to target children.
YouTube had a scandal a few years ago for promoting unreviewed mature content to children.
The channels in question used popular characters like Spider-Man to expose kids to mature, often sexual content.
The internet in general is not a particularly safe place, and it can be incredibly easy to bypass a maturity filter.
While there are options for parental blocks, they certainly cannot catch everything.
Some content isn’t going to be filtered out and kids are prone to figuring out how to get past them on their own.
People intentionally post harmful content and often tag it in such a way that it evades safety filters.
Because of this, parental blocks become somewhat useless since children will still stumble across this content.
Phones in general are also distracting. Younger children in particular have less self-control and are more likely to get distracted by their phone.
According to a study published in BMC Psychiatry, roughly one in four children that have phones have “problematic smartphone use,” including addiction to their phones.
Smartphone addiction, like any addiction, is extremely harmful to those who have it.
It can be especially harmful in a school setting because of how distracting it gets.
Smartphones can also isolate children from living in the moment.
Phone addictions often cause those who have them to focus more on their phones than anything they are doing outside of the digital world.
Those who reported problematic smartphone use in the BMC Psychiatry study also reported feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
In addition to the health and safety risks, phones also tend to be a big financial burden.
Most phones cost several hundred dollars, and that fails to factor in things like data plans.
Buying a child a phone that they aren’t going to be responsible with is a risky move.
Phones are expensive, and children are more likely to be irresponsible with them, which could cause them to have to get their phones fixed or replaced more.
If a child cannot be trusted with a phone, it might not be worth the extra financial strain on the family.
Smartphones can host a concerning amount of things that are hazardous to anyone. Handing that danger to a young child is too risky, given the problems that could so easily arise from it.