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To Give or Not to Give

TOUCH Cyber Wellness

To Give or Not to Give

As Singapore is one of the most connected countries in the world, more and more Singaporean teenagers and even pre-teens own smartphones these days. 

A smartphone is something your child will likely ask for sooner or later. When the time comes, deciding whether or not to give them one may be a dilemma for parents.

While the smartphone brings about many benefits for your children, there are also various disadvantages that may result in undesirable consequences. TOUCH Cyber Wellness sheds light on the topic.

Advantages

  1. Stay connected with your children
    We cannot deny the convenience smartphones bring to our daily lives. You and your child can send a short text message to each other at any time of the day via cheap or even free smartphone applications such as WhatsApp and Viber.

  2. Smartphone as an educational tool
    Smartphone applications, compared to assessment books, allow for more engaging and interactive learning. The game-like nature of applications also makes learning more fun and lasting.

  3. Teaching the concept of responsibility
    Use the smartphone to teach your children about the concept of being responsible for their personal belongings. They are likely to put in their utmost effort in ensuring their precious phones are kept safely and maintained in tip-top condition. 

Disadvantages

  1. Smartphone-induced sleeplessness
    Smartphones have “created a whole host of temptations for children” and are causing the new generation to forego their much needed eight hours of sleep. This bad habit of not getting enough sleep may lead to your children facing serious problems such as being late for school, not being able to pay full attention in class and even poor performance in school. More than just a behavioural problem, your children’s unwillingness to sleep early may also lead to health issues such as obesity.

  2. Isolation from family
    Uncontrolled smartphone usage may cause your children to isolate themselves from the rest of the family. Keeping a close relationship with your children through constant communication is important to prevent them from turning rebellious, especially when they are going through puberty. 

  3. Shocking credit card bills
    In order to download applications, whether they are paid or free, you will probably be required to key in your credit card details beforehand. We need to be cautious because this required action could lead to uncontrolled spending on apps if your child isn’t disciplined about his/her smartphone usage. Although many applications can be downloaded for free, there are often hidden costs involved.

Tips for parents 
To give or not to give? Before making a decision, you can ask yourself:

  • Is my child at the appropriate age to receive a smartphone? 
  • Does my child really need a smartphone?
  • How do I foresee my child using the smartphone if I do get him/her one?
  • How much control should I have over his/her smartphone usage if he/she owns one?


TOUCH Cyber Wellness (TCW) is a pioneer and leading non-profit agency that champions cyber wellness and media literacy education in Singapore. Since 2001, TCW has reached more than 320 schools and one million youths, parents, educators and counsellors through its education, advocacy and intervention efforts.

Want to know more on the latest online trends that may be affecting your child? Need to speak with an expert on your child’s mobile device usage habits? Get in touch with TOUCH Cyber Wellness here!

For more articles on cyber wellness, check out notAnoobie.online, an online cyber wellness resource for parents by TOUCH Cyber Wellness and Singtel.