There are many reasons why you may be considering buying your child a smartphone. It could be to keep communication, something to entertain or to give a sense of responsibility and independence for your child. There are definitely a lot of benefits that your child could get from owning a smartphone but there are also many things that you need to consider before you go out and buy your child a smartphone. Here is a list of things we suggest you think about before you make your purchase:
The internet can be a scary place especially for young children, imagine all the potential harmful content that is easily accessible just by using a smartphone. Seemingly innocent activities on social media, video streaming or messenger apps could very easily lead to more malicious intent. This is one of the key things that worries parents, as they worry about what content their child is potentially viewing or what potential strangers have contacted their child. There is also a big social issue of cyberbullying that can potentially be damaging to their child.
Smartphones lack a fundamental external moderation option that parents can implement to restrict these potentially harmful situations. Ideally parents need a device that allows more moderation and restriction of content without needing to access their child’s smartphone.
Limited Locating Options
Although some locating options are available on some smartphones, they were not built with the purpose of tracking your child which can make it much harder to locate where your child is with a smartphone. There is also the possibility of the child losing the smartphone which then of course makes it useless as a tracking device for their child anyway.
Having active GPS locating is far more useful that any “find my phone” feature you can find on the smartphones that have it available and having a device that is physically attached to the child means it is less likely to get lost and more accurately track your child and make sure they are safe.
Another big social issue that we are all experiencing is screen addiction. More and more studies are showing that screens, especially on our smartphones can be very addicting. This unhealthy reliance on can cause many health issues later on in life. Children are in their early development stages that can affect their cognitive and social health as they grow into adults. An article by Today’s Parent highlights potential behaviour issues that are linked with too much screen time, with one point in particular was that “five-year-olds who spent two or more hours a day on a screen were five times more likely to be reported by their parents as exhibiting symptoms of ADHD when compared to their peers who were on screens for 30 minutes or less”. This is considerably important considering this is a key emotional and mental developing stage for children.
Moderating this potential issue is considerably important for children so they are able to live without any health issues that could be caused by screen addiction. Features that can restrict the usage time of devices is extremely important but this is extremely difficult to do on a smartphone.
Smartphones can be fairly expensive, and when you consider how fragile they are not really suitable for children to own as replacing them can cost more than what families may be able to afford. There are also many horror stories about app and in-app purchases made by children that cost their parents 1,000s if not 10,000s simply because they did not understand the concept of money.
Ideally a cheaper, more sturdy and durable device would be more suitable for your child that has limited options to spend parents money without their knowledge and consent.
How imoo Addresses These Problems?
After taking time to reflect on all the potential problems, they came to our mind while we designed the imoo Watch Phone Z6. We considered the many ways to avoid and minimise the issues potentially created from smartphones by giving the important features that smartphones offer such as communication and cameras while also having additional features that are tailor made for children.
First there is Active Locating, which allows you to check the location of your child while they are outside alone. This can include outside activities, playing out with friends or be as simple going to and from school. But with this in place it can give parents peace of mind that their children are safe.
Second is the moderation options to the device simply by using the external imoo APP on the parent’s smartphone. This gives the child the ability to communicate while also having the option to restrict access and contacts the parents do not feel comfortable with and blocking unknown contacts. This gives the child a safe cyberspace tailor made by the parents. This feature also helps to combat social issues like too much screen exposure and screen addition by simply limiting the device feature as and when they choose.
With options like the imoo Watch Phone Z6 available, buying your child a smartphone may not be the best option for you. Be sure to consider your option carefully before you go out and buy a smartphone and see if it is suitable for your child.