Our daughter, Mia, turned 12 at the start of this school year. Now that she’s in middle school and is becoming more independent, we wanted to get her a phone that allowed her to communicate with us and her friends.
We investigated various “kid-friendly” cellphone options with parental controls, but quickly realized that it doesn’t take much tech-savviness to get around these safeguards.
While we trust our daughter immensely, with everything that we’ve learned (and written about over the years) we strongly believe that too much technology, too soon, is dangerous for our children.
In this post, we want to share the problems kids encounter with access to technology and why we chose the Gabb phone, which allows kids to stay connected while being protected.
Extended screen time has become a growing concern for children’s health and development. It can have adverse effects on their physical, social, and emotional well-being.
The more time children spend on screens, the less time they have for physical activity and outdoor play, which are essential for their growth and development.
Excessive screen time can also impact their social skills and emotional development, hindering their ability to interact with others and learn how to regulate their emotions.
Did you know?
4+ hours are spent on the phone from ages 8-11
7+ hours are spent on the phone from ages 12-18
Teens are 2x more likely to be diagnosed with depression when they spend 7+ hours/day on devices
Teens are 71% more at risk of suicide when spending 5+ hours/day on devices
Social media has become a ubiquitous aspect of modern-day life. However, the excessive use of social media can have significant effects on children’s mental and emotional well-being.
Social media platforms expose children to mature content, inappropriate language, extreme ideas, and damaging interactions, which can adversely affect their perception of the world.
Did you know?
54% of teens say parents would be shocked to see their social media
43% feel pressure to post content that makes them look good to others
Explicit content, including provocative, sexual, or inappropriate material is easily accessible online and can have adverse effects on children’s mental and emotional well-being.
Exposure to such content can lead to the desensitization of children to sexualized or violent acts and behaviors, which can lead to adverse effects on their sexual development and mental health.
Children may also develop unrealistic expectations and perceptions of relationships and intimacy, leading to distorted attitudes and beliefs about sex and sexuality.
The use of hostile language and violent content can also lead to aggressive behavior and a lack of empathy towards others.
Did you know?
9 of 10 kids are unwillingly exposed to explicit content
Age 11 is the average age of when kids are exposed to pornography
Cyberbullying has become a prevalent issue affecting children and young adults in the digital age. It refers to any aggressive or harmful behavior that occurs online, such as sending compromising messages, hacking, spreading rumors, or posting embarrassing photos.
The anonymity and accessibility of the internet allow cyberbullies to target victims with ease and without fear of repercussion.
The effects of cyberbullying can be severe, leading to depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Victims may feel isolated and helpless, as the bullying can occur 24/7 and can be difficult to escape.
Did you know?
1 in 3 kids become a victim of cyberbullying
50% of teens witness cyberbullying regularly
Staying Connected While Being Protected
Remember when a phone was just a phone—a communication device!?
I have vivid memories of dragging our kitchen phone (with the longest cord we could purchase circa 1990) down the hallway and into the bathroom. I would sit on the floor and talk to my friends—laughing together, crying together, sharing stories, troubleshooting homework, planning what to wear…
This is what I wanted for our daughter! To give her the ability to stay connected with her friends like I did—but without exposing her to all the other “stuff” that comes with phones today.
After months of research, we purchased the Gabb phone, which Mia has had for 7+months now and is thrilled with.
Quite simply, Gabb’s philosophy aligns with our own: to help kids to focus on connecting in ways that build relationships:
- live conversations on a call
- person-to-person communication via texting
The Gabb phone does NOT have:
- social media
We opted for the Gabb Phone Plus which enables group texting and photo texting, mostly because we wanted her included on our family chats, and because we trust what photos she would take or send.
There are also optional “safe” Apps with the Gabb Phone Plus such as calendar, calculator, notes, weather, music, and Sora (for ebooks and audiobooks).
If you have been curious about a first phone for your child, we encourage you to take a look into Gabb Wireless.
Of course, getting a safe phone for kids is just the start. As with every tool we give our children, true safety requires them to not only be shielded from danger, but to also learn to build healthy habits and behaviors. This is especially true in today’s digital age!