Should Teens Have Smartphones? [Poll]
My 12 year old step-son thinks he needs an iPhone. I think he's out of his mind, and quite frankly it's out of the question. It's a matter of cost for my family, but first and foremost I simply don't think teens should have smartphones.
As the parent of a teen I can tell you that they don't have a really developed sense of good judgement, or a true concept of money. It's only because they don't know any better yet. I don't believe they understand the value of the device they're using, or the monthly cost attached to it. That again is a product of their age.
My son's iPod touch, that he had to have, was dropped in the toilet and destroyed. He was devastated, but he simply wanted me to replace it not understanding that I didn't have another $300 just lying around. Kids just don't get it.
I have an iPhone 4. I use it every day for enjoyment and business, and I think it's fantastic. I write posts for the site, I check analytics, I manage the station's Facebook page, I manage the VIP Club, and I even do remote broadcasts with it (although I don't make many phone calls). It's a valuable work tool. On a personal level I have my Facebook, Twitter, messaging, manage my finances, keep organized, and a few games and apps that I truly enjoy.
I bought my first smartphone, an iPhone 4, a little over a year ago because I managed to tuck money away until I could actually afford it. It's is an amazing device that keeps me connected and I believe every adult should have one.
According to Pew Research, about three out of ten teens ages 14 to 17 own a smartphone.
Smartphones are becoming a status symbol for teens. A study found that 46% of people between 18 and 24 would choose having internet access over owning a car. At the same time, the Transportation Department is reporting that in 2008, only 30% of 16-year-olds got their driver's license – a figure that stood at 50% in 1978.
Think about that for a moment: teens would rather have an iPhone than a vehicle.
I'm going to turn on my grumpy old man for a minute: when I was their age, I didn't even have a cell phone, let alone internet (not in the way we know it now). I bought my first cell phone while in my early 20's--a Startac hunk of junk that was a big gray brick--and I had to pay extra for it to actually make calls. Back then they actually handed me a paper spreadsheet of empty numbers and let me pick the one I wanted.
What Do You Think?
Maybe I'm completely in the wrong, but I don't think tweens or teens need smartphones. Give them a cell phone that can make calls and text, but not an expensive smartphones with expensive plans to cause trouble.