While I certain feel that I could end this post right there, I won’t. For me this is an easy decision. However, I understand that for others it is not so easy. Let’s look at some reasons why you shouldn’t let your preteen have one and then some reasons why many of them do.
Free Porn, Come and Get It!! My friend in ministry, Sam Luce did a post on his blog titled, “Would you take your kids to a porn shop?” Certainly you would never do that, but you give your child unmonitored access to the internet. You can read Sam’s Post HERE. Let’s face it your preteen (or teenager for that matter) is not ready to self-censor. They lack the maturity, in most cases, to recognize something that something is bad and then turn away from it. They may even recognize that it is wrong and do it anyway. A smart phone gives your preteen complete, unmonitored access to the internet and all the evils that are available out there.
But, we use parental controls. Great! I think you should. But, do you really think that you know that device better than your kids? Maybe you do, but chances are you don’t. There are ways around parental controls and monitoring software. The only way to really monitor what their viewing is to BE THERE.
It’s just for Facebook and Instagram and stuff like that. Last year In the county I just moved from a 12 year old girl committed suicide after being bullied relentlessly by as many as 15 girls via social media. As an adult it is easy for me to say “just ignore it” or “just block those people. They are not your friends anyway.” But, when your 12 years old it’s not that simple. Giving your child a smart phone puts them in a position to experience this type of treatment, without you there to monitor it or to support them through it. Certainly this represents an extreme case, but it illustrates the dangers that exist.
Your baby the porn star. That may sound extreme, but read this story HERE about a young woman who has some nude pictures of herself taken. She shared them with her boyfriend at the time. When they broke up he posted them on the internet for all the world to see. While this is, again, an extreme example, check these statistics: (you can see the original article HERE)
- 22% of teen girls have shared nude or semi-nude pictures
- 18% of teen boys have done the same
- 36% of both teen girls and teen boys say it is common for nude or semi-nude photos or videos to be shared with people other than the intended recipient.
If these states are even close to right they are appalling. Would you want your little boy or your baby girl sending nude pictures? This can happen on any phone, but smart phones make it even easier.
Some apps are just evil. Snapchat is an app that I think should be avoided by all people. Certainly there are harmless uses for it, but it also can be very harmful. Snapchat allows you to send pictures to people that then disappear a short time after being viewed. This is just one example of the type of apps that are out there.
So, why SHOULD we give them a smart phone? Well, if we are completely honest the reason most of us would give our preteen a smart phone is BECAUSE THEY WANT ONE. Or, BECAUSE ALL THEIR FRIENDS HAVE ONE. Neither one of theses is a good reason to do anything. Our kids often want things that are bad for them and it is our job to filter these kinds of things and protect them from them until they are mature enough to filter them for themselves.
As for their friends having one. First, while many of their friends may have one, there are many more that don’t have a smart phone and many that have no phone at all. But, even if they do have smart phones let me ask the Christian parents a question, “Do you want your kids to grow up to be like the people around him/her OR to be like Christ.” As Christians we are called to be set apart, to be different. I know that this can be very difficult when we are young, especially in the preteen years. But, it is what we are called to. This will often mean making choices that are different than what the people around us are doing.
So, should my preteen have a smart phone? I still say NO. At the end of the day, however, the decision has to be yours. But, as you consider it, keep these things in mind.Matt Norman
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