The use of cell phones is growing ever more common, and many parents are starting to consider cell phone use for their children. The matter comes with many pros and cons, all of which deserve closer examination.
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A major advantage of allowing young children to use a cell phone is to help ensure your child's safety. Although parents are able to keep track of where their young child is at most of the times, there is never a guarantee that a mishap could not occur. In the event that a child gets lost in a department or grocery store, or misses a school bus or ride home, a cell phone is an excellent idea. For the child that gets misplaced, having mom or dad's cell phone number can mean the difference between safety and danger.
Another pro of giving your child a cell phone is to allow them the opportunity to learn responsibility. To make sure your child doesn't confuse the cell phone with a toy, allow them to understand that having the phone is a privilege. The child will feel that they have ownership in something, and will want to do their best toward making sure that nothing happens to it. This is a great way to get them interested in taking care of their belongings.
A cell phone could be something that saves your child in the event he is abducted. A child could even take and send a picture of where they are and who they are with. These are actions that could potentially save the life of a child.
Weighing the Options
With every pro there is a con. One aspect of letting a child have a cell phone is whether they can handle the responsibility. Cell phones can be expensive if they are not managed properly. Letting a child hold on to their own phone could mean it might end up misplaced, stolen or damaged. Without a cell phone minutes plan, it could also mean your child is making frequent calls and racking up a large bill. The excitement of having the phone could also give your child a lack of focus.
Having a cell phone could also be considered a negative when it comes to bringing it to school. Most schools have strict rules about having cell phones in use on school grounds. Giving your child a cell phone could mean he'll try take it to school. This could put them in a position of having it taken away at school.
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