The ever-increasing internal dilemma among Millennial and Gen X parents is when it’s time to give your kid a smartphone. This is an increasingly difficult decision to make as technology advances and it feels like the world is getting so much meaner. Remember being bullied in middle school? Can you imagine if that bullying followed you home and everywhere you went because it is all online?
Social media can be a scary place, and add in apps like Snapchat where whatever these kids send to each other or say to each other can be immediately deleted, and you;ve got a recipe for disaster—in my opinion.
Apparently, Jimmy Fallon doesn’t share my opinion and fear of the dreaded smartphone for young kids. While I want to wait until my kid is driving to have one, he purchased two smartphones for his young daughters, who are only 9 and 10 years old. And during his interview with Kelly Ripa and her husband and co-host Mark Consuelos on Live with Kelly and Mark, he received some pretty emphatic advice from the seasoned parents.
Fallon was explaining that he had no idea what to get his daughters for Christmas, following his younger daughter Frannie’s recent ninth birthday celebration. “I know their friends are getting phones,” he began. And both Rippa and Consuelos said in agreement, “Don’t do it!”
“I know,” Fallon said, “But it’s happening. It’s out of my control!”
Ripa replied, “No, no, no. Don’t do it. Don’t do it!”
Fallon indignantly responded, “They’re going to get it! It’s already done!” As Rippa continued to plead with him not to. Consuelos suggested he give them flip phones instead, to which Fallon yelled and laughed in response, “I GOT THEM A PHONE!”
Bold move considering that “high proportions of youth appear to be addicted to their smartphones,” according to a study about smartphones, social media use, and mental health of young people.
Nonprofit research organization Sapien Labs has also reported that the younger kids are when they’re given smartphones and tablets, the worse their mental health is as an adult.
I for one am glad I grew up in an era where I can remember life before cell phones and even the internet (hey, get off my lawn!), but it will be interesting to see how things pan out for this new generation of kids who have never known anything else.