A controversial approach to phones for children

The debate continues. Should children have smart phones?

Experts are on both sides, but many psychologists agree that phone use—especially at bedtime—is harmful to the development of children. Use of smart phones also opens them up to groomers, hackers, and bullies. It enables them to begin harmful habits, like self-harm and porn. Phone use can even instruct them how to hurt others—and commit suicide.

So, I will float a controversial idea.

It may rock your boat. And, if you listen, it may save your child.

Give your child a simple phone that only calls parent-approved numbers. It doesn’t take pictures. You can’t text with it. They do exist, and there are many on the market. Just search for “simple phones for children.”

Your number and emergency personnel should top the list, followed by trusted others and maybe some of the child’s best friends—kids you personally know well.

Instruct your child never to share his phone number—even though it’s a “dumb phone”—to anyone you haven’t previously approved. Even so, check his phone from time to time.

Non-smart phones enable your kids to stay in touch with you with several added benefits: You have saved them from comparisons, bullying, and wasting time. You’ve enabled them to enjoy their childhood, be creative, read, run, and have genuine, playtime fun.

I understand that I lived in a totally different world when I grew up. My parents didn’t have to fear letting us ride our bikes all over the neighborhood. They weren’t afraid we’d get kidnapped or trafficked. They taught us our address and home phone number, and with those two pieces of information, we knew how to contact them.

Today, many women work outside their homes, and I understand that it’s important for them to be able to stay in touch with their kids. A simple phone does this. It lets them call their parents, and parents can call them. Anyone can leave a message, if needed. The added benefit is that a simple phone is easy to use. Even a first grader can master it.

Happy childhoods require unconnected time.

Experts used to warn us about television viewing. Now, phone addiction is a sad reality.

I often wonder if a born again Christian child can even meditate on a Bible verse, since he’s always staring at the device in his hand. How can he pray without ceasing if he’s continually tuned in to his phone? A simple phone can enable spiritual freedom, as well.

Unconnect your child today. This year, give your son or daughter a phone designed for children, and you’ll notice an awesome difference in your family.

I guarantee it.

Your thoughts are welcome, even if you disagree. Feel free to comment kindly.

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