My generation will be the last one to remember life before the Internet. When I was seven, I was still playing “Barbie Dream House” with my friends and hosting tea parties for my entourage of stuffed dogs and teddy bears. If I wanted to hang out with somebody, I’d walk a block to their house or call them on their landline. In today’s world, children are going straight from diapers and bottles to iPhones and Facebook. But is introducing kids to social technology at such a young age a good idea, or not?
According to a study performed by the Kasier Family Foundation, “8-18 year olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitaking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those 7½ hours.”
Technology and social media are amazing things, but I don’t think children should be using either of them. If kids are constantly plugged in to the Internet all day or spend endless hours on the couch watching 3-D movies or playing video games, they can lose valuable face time with their peers.
Children need to be interacting with other people and the outside world. They need to have constant mental and creative stimuli, and the Internet isn’t going to provide them with either of those things.
Kids should be playing sports, throwing rocks into rivers, and generally getting dirt under their fingernails. There is no need for a nine-year-old to have a cell phone or even a Facebook account. I mean, who are they going to call? Mom? Dad? Miley Cyrus?
This doesn’t mean that children shouldn’t ever be exposed to technology. Experts recommend that kids are limited to no more than two hours of supervised Internet time a day.
The bottom line is that parents should let their kids be kids and teach them about technology, but not let it rule their lives.
What are your thoughts? At what age should kids be allowed to have a Facebook account or email address?