What's all the fuzz about?
Why is there so much fuzz concerning children’s use of mobile phones? There are many positive aspects to start using mobile phones at an early age.
Answer from Kids and Media’s Director:
The mobile media has come to stay and is developing at an incredible speed. Children in the UK get their first mobile phone at an early age, and new technology and digital media are easily accessible.Mobile phones are, as other types of media, arenas for social life, entertainment, learning and other useful purposes for young people and adults alike. Tomorrow's mobile phones will mostly be used for the same as today's mini-PCs and handheld game consoles. This means that virtually the entire media world will be in the pocket of most children relatively soon.
The reasons why I believe that parents should carefully consider when children get their own phone, and what kind of phone and subscription they should have, are as follows:
- Need for a predictable framework around children's everyday lives: The framework for children up to 10 years of age should be clear and predictable. It is important that the mobile phone isn’t the main line of communication between parents and children in terms of what to do, where to go and who you are with. It might create fear in the child if, for various reasons, they suddenly can’t contact the parents.
- Commercial pressures: It is difficult for younger children to relate to virtual services that cost real money, such as downloading of ringtones, music, pictures and so on. Children are easily fooled by the strong commercial pressure from the mobile industry.
- Risk of bullying and being contacted by strangers: Mobile phones can be a source of unwelcome messages and/or calls from individuals with potentially harmful intentions.
- The risk of long-term damage from exposure to mobile radiation: Modern research has not yet been able to gain certain knowledge in order to finally confirm or deny whether electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones may be harmful to children. Young children's skulls are not fully grown and developed, and I believe, therefore, that a principle of precaution should apply until researchers can make certain conclusions. Kids and Media believes that the quantity of radiation should be mandatory product information. All vendors of mobile phones should be obligated to inform about mobile radiation, just as they have to inform about price, the phone’s features, battery life and so on.
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