The Pros and Cons of Smartphones for the Whole Family

I got my first smartphone a few years ago. It has since become such a necessity for me, that I can't manage without it, especially not for work, and I don't want to ever have to go without one. The same goes for my husband. For his 10th birthday, I bought my eldest a smartphone. It affords him more independence (I live in a country where 10 year olds are traveling on the city bus on their own, and it's considered acceptable) but because of the smartphone technology I am able to keep track of where he is. I'm really glad he has a smartphone, it has made a lot of things better for our family. When my next son turns 10, I probably will buy him a smartphone as well. 
Here's a post from a reader, about whether or not having smartphones for the whole family is ideal.

It seems as though everyone and their moms have a smartphone these days literally. In fact, almost 80 percent of all Americans own a smartphone today. And with good reason too. Smartphones can double as a computer, take amazing pictures, provide GPS navigation, play music and videos, and so much more. They are useful for any age and especially for big families who are constantly on the go. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of smartphones for you and your family.

The Pros

As stated above, you know that smartphones are versatile and almost necessary in this day and age. For parents, smartphones are great for both business and pleasure and come handy if you’re constantly on the go from work to family activities to running errands. Now you may be iffy about getting your kids smartphones, but there are some benefits you should keep in mind. Giving your child a smartphone of their own will help them keep in touch with you throughout the day or when they’re away at a friends house. GPS-enabled phones also allow you to track your child’s location in case of an emergency. If you’re still worried about safety whether physically or on the internet, there are tons of parental control apps out there to monitor and keep tabs on your kids’ online activity. You can also use these features to set curfews and time limits for entertainment like gaming and video streaming on their phones. Use smartphones to your advantage too by rewarding your kids for doing extra chores around the house. So the more they get done, the more time they have to watch movies or play games on their phones. It’s a win-win for everyone.

The Cons

Although there are some great features and benefits of owning a smartphone, of course, there are some disadvantages as well. Allowing your kids to own their own smartphone comes with the risk of them losing or getting the phone stolen, damaging the phone, or simply just taking advantage of the technology the phone holds. Instead of playing outside or participating in after-school activities, kids are becoming addicted to their smartphones. With the rise of technology and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, kids seem to be glued to their phones. Studies have even shown that smartphones screens activate the same area of the brain as drugs do, which means that your children’s screen time is affecting their mental, emotional and sometimes physical health. So as a parent, it’s important to monitor and set limits for smartphone use. Besides that, smartphones are also very expensive. With mom and dad each already owning a smartphone, it’s hard to justify the costs for everyone else in the house to have their own as well. Another issue that families run into is distributing data and minutes usage and text message costs evenly, which can add up to even more costs if data limits are exceeded.

Affordable Family Plans

Although smartphones can cost an arm and a leg, the good news is that most cell phone providers offer family plans that can cut down on costs and keep everyone So whether they’re team Android or Team iPhone, everyone can pick out the phone that’s right for them and the best part is, no one will be blamed for using up all the data and minutes since you’ll have the option to receive unlimited talk, text and data. What’s better than saving money and preventing family fights? With the right family plan, you’ll be able to keep the peace and own the hottest technology without burning a hole in your pocket.
Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons and find the right family plan for you, you can decide the best plan of action for you and your family.

See my disclaimer.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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