26/02/2018 12:02 SAST | Updated 26/02/2018 12:02 SAST

How To Decide When It Is The Best Time For Your Child To Have Access To A Smartphone

According to a survey by Nielsen Ibope, 15% of the 68 million mobile Internet users in Brazil are between 10 and 17 years old.

I was surprised by a message from a different number in my Whatsapp. "Hi, it's Luiza." I got my cell phone! "Said the text that was accompanied by a smiley and lively selfie. The commemorative announcement came from a younger cousin, and at that moment I could not help thinking how much she had grown up. That's because, at the time of the message, I could also remember dialogues in which she tried to convince the mother of the need for a smartphone while receiving the denial from the adult. "When you turn 10, who knows, we can think about it," he argued.

But the dilemma experienced whether or not to allow the child to access an electronic device such as a smartphone is not restricted to a single family. The desire for consumption and connectivity is almost intrinsic to the new generations. According to a survey by Nielsen Ibope, 15% of the 68 million mobile Internet users in Brazil are between 10 and 17 years old . Another survey by the Internet Steering Committee revealed that mobile handsets are more used than television and computers among young people aged 6 to 12. But how to measure the use of smartphones in childhood?

For the psychologist Adriana de Paula, technologies can become great stimuli for the young, since they develop attention and mental agility. The problem, however, is how these devices are being included in the routine.

"It is not enough to just leave the child focused on the device, it is necessary to have a dialogue about the content and offer options of activities, with other types of stimuli that are not aimed only at the technologies.Useful use can be harmful not only for the child, but for the whole family, "he explains in an interview with HuffPost Brazil.

A survey by King's College in London, England, gathered data on how cellphone use at bedtime, for example, can affect hormones and child development. According to the study, the content of smartphones can be so stimulating that it delays the period of relaxation of the child. Still, the lights emitted by the screen affect the perception of the brain and keep the organ in a state of wakefulness.

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Is it necessary to delay the contact of children with smartphones?

In the United States, the Wait Until 8th campaign advocates that parents and guardians only allow the use of smartphones by children as young as 14. The movement worries about the amount of time the younger people are putting on the screens and individual activities when they could be playing and interacting with others.

"Appliance addiction is like any other addiction because it robs the person of all other activities and takes away the possibility of coexistence and learning with other things. The little child who plays with the little friend learns important concepts such as rules and limits in this coexistence. If she focuses on the individual online game, everything happens at the time she wants and in the time she wants it, which can generate a much more intolerant and irritable adult, you lose the notion of the other and that is very bad, "he explains. the psychologist Adriana de Paula.

Another point of attention, according to the campaign, is about the type of content that children are being exposed to. For the vice president of the Federal Council of Psychology (CFP), Ana Sandra, parents need to put limits on the use of smartphones and be always attentive to the contents that the little ones interact.

"It needs to be a conscientious and, above all, guided and supervised use by parents." Children, by age and cognitive structure, can not know what is best for them.My child can not define how many hours he will spend in front of a screen, "explains the psychologist in an interview with HuffPost Brazil.

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When responsible use is an ally

Medical Mariana Croda is the mother of two girls and lives with the older woman's desire to have a cell phone since she was 6 years old. It was at this stage that she saw the first friends gaining their own handsets. The idea of ​​the doctor was to give the daughter with the cell phone only when she was 11 years old, but added the gift when the family had to change their city last year.

"We used an old appliance and we said that the appliance was from the house and not from her, who is 9 years old, in practice it is hers, and I do not regret it. gave me security to communicate with her during the periods I'm away, she forgets the cell phone for days and I see that my fear was a little overwhelmed, "he shared in an interview with HuffPost Brazil.

Croda explains that her daughter mainly uses instant messaging applications and videos such as Youtube. The great fear of the mother is in relation to the kind of content that the daughter is interacting with. As a result, it uses restrictions on mobile and sites. This makes the girl only have access to the released apps.

"Whenever I can, I see what she has accessed and pretend not to know most of the things she speaks on social networks, somehow preserving her individuality. Youtube is just the kids and with a combination that it can only access if you have an adult close by.This control is to prevent access to inappropriate content, but also to reduce exposure to sites that encourage consumerism through influencers, which I believe to be the most complicated currently, "he shares.

Priscila Josefick is the mother of Valentine, only 2 years old. The little one does not have his own device, but he likes to watch drawings in the television and the cellular of the parents. For the mother, the technology serves as support when the child is very agitated, for example.

"He likes music very much and sees some videos on Youtube.I try not to blame myself for allowing my child access to these technologies, because only when you are a mother or father understand certain situations.Sometimes I need to perform some task and he but I would never trade a real-world game for a game or application, "he explains in an interview with HuffPost Brazil.

Josefick confesses that she herself has a complicated relationship with the devices. For the mother, social networks are synonymous with anxiety. "I am very attached to the Instagram and I am afraid of losing the updates of the digital life, even my brain telling me that I will not be affected by any of that," he says. "I do not want him to associate my image with that of his cell phone," he says, "but I do not want him to associate my image with my cell phone. every moment, "she says.

In fact, the example of parents in early childhood education is crucial, argues psychologist Ana Sandra. For CFP vice president, parents need to limit their own use if they want to require it from the kids. "What the child does or learns is not disconnected from the environment they live in," he explains.

For Josefick, parents can not be hostage to the devices, but they do not need to have "closed opinions on the use of technologies."

"We try to be so perfect that we suffer with some decisions.I do not want my child to have access to tablets, for example.But I see the mothers using the device and comfortable with it.It has to be natural and it has to be Light."

Is my child ready to have a smartphone?

Some reflections on the use of the devices by children:

- Is the child old enough to have a smartphone? There is no ideal age, but the age range of 10 to 12 years is the most indicated according to experts. Despite this, the decision will always be for adults. Talk to the little ones and try to understand the arguments, as well as explain the reasons why they may or may not have a cell phone.

- Keep control. Depending on the device, parents and guardians can format access restrictions and block content. It is not because the child is in the room of the house that she is protected from abusive content.

- Seek out the kind of content that engenders interest and draws the attention of your children. A good mapping is always to keep an eye on the applications the child uses.

- Talk and be present. Technology is only a tool and will never replace family affection and attention.