Ng: Tablet or cell phone for Christmas?-A A +A
By Wilson Ng
Thursday, December 1, 2011
WITH just a few days before Christmas, many parents are now wondering what to give their kids.
Since children these days are more tech-savvy than we were in their age, their preferred Christmas present is either a cellular phone or a tablet.
I gave a cell phone to my eldest son when he was about 13, but my youngest got one when he was nine. But my nephews and the kids of my friends now have tablet computers even if they are only three or four years old.
I think there is no harm in giving your kids a tablet, especially if you are the one who pre-downloads the applications and games they have in those devices.
However, a cell phone requires a lot of thought and consideration.
There are more than 60 million cell phone users in the country today, and a lot of them are children. I heard a presentation earlier that says we send and receive (in the Philippines) more than 1.4 billion text messages a day, and a lot of them are being sent or received by teens.
So how young is too young for a cell phone?
When your children’s classmates or friends start bringing cell phones, you will soon hear your kids asking for one. Peer pressure to be up-to-date with gadgets can be very strong.
In my experience, I would suggest that parents consider this matter very carefully.
Letting a child own a cell phone, especially a smartphone, is as dangerous as unleashing him or her on the Internet where they can surf anywhere and anything.
It could be like opening a can of worms and could cause challenging social interactions. Your kids may end up knowing things and people that they are not
supposed to. Use of a smartphone is very difficult to monitor and supervise.
It is not a question of money. It is about giving your kids a lot of freedom, when they are not able to distinguish right from wrong.
I would advise against giving your kid a cell phone, unsupervised time on the Internet and a Facebook account, until they have enough sense of maturity and discipline.
Before giving your children cell phones, you must ensure that they understand what the device is for—that it is to call you to update you of their activities and for emergencies.
I believe a tablet (with limited social access) is safer.
But if you have to give your children cell phones, give them something basic and sufficient for texting and calling. It might be a good idea to get a postpaid so you can review their bills and check numbers they call. There are postpaid plans with low monthly cap.
A cell phone may be necessary. I gave my kids cell phones when they have group assignments or if they want to go to the movies with their classmates.
But I still recommend that until your kids show maturity, even using Facebook is something you might want to monitor closely.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 02, 2011.