4-year-old Milisa recently took a selfie

20 November 2020 | 15H53

With the world migrating digitally, the concern of the right age to expose children to cellular devices is at hand.

‘When is the right age to buy your child a mobile device?’ was the question posed on social media and to local shoppers at Cornubia Mall.

Abigail Meredith-Scott responded, “I think it’s about balance. My kids have had a tablet for ages, we have loaded age-appropriate learning games on KidsTube, all of which are educational. That said, they only have an hour or so during the week and maybe some extra time on the weekends. After school, they go to my mum, who looks after them until I finish work, where they play outside, climb trees, and do physical and traditional activities. They are going to be growing up in an era where not being able to use technology is going to be a severe disadvantage to their education and future career. So, they need the best of both. This is what I believe.”

A large majority of shoppers stated that their children do have a cellphone device.

Clinical psychologist, Sumaya Jeewa answered, “When a child demonstrates social awareness, an understanding of technology and the necessary level of responsibility to care for a mobile device is the first sign that he or she may be ready to have one. Each child will reach this stage at different ages, dependent on their personality traits and environmental factors.”

Jeewa continued to explain that parents and guardians need to communicate the responsibility of owning a device with their child. Having a device means exposure to cyber bullying and inappropriate content. She stated that children must be psychoeducated extensively and once parents feel the information has been well-processed by the child, they can feel comfortable with purchasing a device.

She also mentioned that parents should monitor the usage of the device and set limits or restrictions to avoid further problems.

In the book: Digital Cocaine by Brad Huddlestone, the author likens the exposure to digital devices to that of smoking a line of cocaine, as far as the brain is concerned. In the book, the author warns parents to limit their children’s exposure to digital devices as it runs the risk of them big addictive and could limit the brains ability to think.

 

Phindile Mshudulu for Phoenix Sun Newspapers >> https://phoenixsun.co.za/95036/when-is-the-appropriate-age-to-buy-your-child-a-mobile-device/

Lot’s of Love always xxx