ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Smartphone shipments saw a drop to 2013 levels early this year — the largest decline ever according to experts, and a trend here in the U.S. could be behind some of that.
A number of consumers are opting for dumbphones, (e.g., a phone like a classic Nokia or a flip phone), a trend that might give parents some ideas when it comes to selecting the first phone for their kids.
“The child’s opinion is probably going to be very than the parent’s,” said Dr. Elizabeth Murry, a pediatrician with Golisano Children’s Hospital. She said smartphones give young folks access to the world — and that’s something to think about.
“Learning to be a good digital citizen is a skillset and so starting at a young age, we need to teach children how to enter that digital world,” said Murray, adding there are many threats on social media, right at your child’s fingertips.
Murray said there’s a need these days for direct contact. But for everything else?
“A parent is going to want their child to have a phone so they can communicate — but that of course is very different than perhaps having access to Snapchat and things like that,” she said.
Greece parent Tom said 14 is a good age for getting his kids a smartphone, with one condition.
“As long as I have control over it when it comes to parental guidance and any security features,” he said.
Tanya in Greece said for her young daughter, a flip phone might be the ticket. “Definitely. I think that would be a lot better,” she said.
Jenna in Irondequoit said with her oldest now 9, she’s weighing options. But her daughter has something else to stay in touch.
“She has a Gizmo watch that links through Verizon and everything, so I can track her and she can text me,” said Jenna.
Murray said if your child has any kind of phone, for the sake of proper sleep and mental health, here’s a good rule to follow.
“By no means should any kid have any technology in their room at night,” she said.
Also, find common ground with your child and the device, particularly a smartphone.
“It has balanced with going outside and socializing and interacting in different ways,” she said.
Dr. Murray provided some additional educational resources for parents from Healthychildren.org:
Your child’s first phone: Are they ready? and Constantly connected: Are they ready?