The richest people in the world, who earned their fortune by developing technology, want something different for their own kids.
You might think Bill Gates and wife Melinda would offer the devices to their kids that have made them among the richest people in the world.
You’d be wrong.
The late Steve Jobs waited until well after other kids had cell phones before giving one to his own kids and limited the amount of tech time his kids had available.
I’m thankful my childhood was filled with imagination and bruises from playing outside instead of apps and how many likes you can get on a pic —Unknown
Ninety-five percent of US children have access to smartphones.
Sixty-eight percent of teenagers reported that they keep their mobile devices within reach at night, a telephone and online survey released by the nonprofit Common Sense Media found nearly a third (29 percent) of teens sleep with smartphones, cell phones or tablets in their beds.
I dare say the statistics are much higher than reported.
For the record, parents aren’t much better.
Parents — 74 percent of them — are even more likely to have mobile devices within reach at night. But just 12 percent of parents said they kept them in bed.
Move over, teddy bear, there’s a new cuddle buddy and it’s not nearly as fluffy or hugable. It’s a cell phone.
A case for social media
My oldest daughter, age 13, has a cell phone, but no access to social media. She, of course, wants access to social channels like Instagram. Her friends are there and her parents are there, plus many of her family.
She was respectful, did research, and made a presentation suggesting that she should have social media and that she is ready for the responsibility that comes along with the privilege.
Most kids get cell phones at age 10.3 and more than 56% of children have full-blown social media accounts by age 12, according to a CNN report.
Read: If you’re on Instagram and under the age of 13 you don’t belong there.
Do you know you can have a private account?
I see accounts marked private, but my daughter uncovered this on her own and presented more information.
Videos and photos can be set to private so that only approved followers can see them. In our family, there are people we don’t want having access to our kids or what our family is doing, so this circumvents part of the security she, and we have, by her not being present on the platform.
- Focusing on likes
- Sexual predators
- Making comparisons
- Having fake friends
- Less face time (not to be confused with FaceTime)
And there’s more from Growing Wireless:
- 37 percent of teenagers, ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a smartphone just five years ago, but it’s much higher today.
- 88 percent of teenagers, ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a cellphone.
- 91 percent of teenagers, ages 13 to 17, access the internet on cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices at least occasionally.
- 56 percent of young people use a password on their mobile devices.
- 51 percent of high school students carry a smartphone with them to school every day, compared to 28 percent of middle school students.
- 70 percent of parents of teens with a cellphone have reviewed their teen’s text messages, while only 39 percent of teens believe their parents monitor their cellphone somewhat closely.
- 74 percent of teens rely on their parents and other adults for information about protecting themselves online.
- 53 percent of teenagers, ages 13 to 17, say most of their calls last four minutes or less.
- 33 percent of teenagers, ages 13 to 17, list texting as their favorite form of communicating with their friends.
- 53 percent of adolescents, ages 8 to 17, report they have been in the car with someone who is texting and driving.
- 91 percent of teens go online from a mobile device, at least occasionally.
- A typical teen sends and receives 30 texts per day.
More than 5% of Americans work from home, and globally, more than 70% of the population works from home at least once a week.
In case we’ve forgotten as a society, social skills are important. Real-life face-to-face conversations develop communication skills and human connection is not only powerful but necessary.
If you think travel involves changing locations, think about all the dark places your child can travel on social media and all the people walking right into the most private moments of your child’s life without visiting your home.
Think it won’t happen to your kids?
Here’s food for thought.
If you think your child is safe because you know his/her friends and they are only school friends, and you know them, their parents, and, and, and …
You are more naive than I can tell you.
Many of your child’s/children’s “friends” have already asked them for a nude pic.
Their friends are part of the threat. Your kids have already been preyed upon, and you don’t know it.
Read these stats and let them serve as a wake-up call:
- More than 30,000 suicide deaths last year were related to social media
- Nearly half of young people have been cyberbullied, according to this study.
- Of those who are cyberbullied, they are 9 times more likely to have their identity stolen as well.
- More than 2,300 child sexual predators were arrested during Operation Broken Heart last year.
- Fifty percent of millennials say they spend more money because of social media. And, adults are going thousands of dollars into debt to keep up with others’ Instagram feed, according to The National AE.
It’s our little secret. You don’t have to tell Mom and Dad.
Your cell phone has already replaced your calendar, your camera, your alarm clock. Don’t let it replace your life/children/loved ones.
Your health is too important to let it be forever negatively impacted in this way during youth. Most acceptable social media usage can be shared via text with trusted contacts.
Social media use by children and teens promotes:
- poor mental health
My child, you are too precious for social media now.
I love you too much for that.
Let’s revisit the topic again next year.
The best moments of life don’t make it to social media.
Don’t let your kids become a social media statistic.
Get Make Money on Medium: Build Your Audience & Grow Your Income, because you owe it to yourself, and let’s stay in touch.