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Home / Parenting

Should children have phones?

 Children are synonymous with “monkey see, monkey do” behaviours (Shutterstock)

EVE asked Roselyn Kigen, a parenting coach and family therapist, what she thinks about children having phones and the influence technology wields on the young minds.

Up until the age of 13, children need intensive parental guidance before they reach the age where they get assimilated to external influence from peers.

Society will always have an agenda for children. Parents should not let that overpower the agenda they have for their children and be intentional at protecting their children. A parent’s absence cannot be justified. Sacrifices have to be made for them to be intentionally present in their children’s lives. This does not mean that one becomes a helicopter parent but intentional parenting and presence makes a lot of difference in the children’s growth.

When children are devoid of something they need to develop to their optimum, they can resort to filling that void with something that works for them, temporarily. Unfortunately, in such a peer-led situation it is a “monkey see, monkey do” situation.

Social media for example, has been used a lot as a tool of attacking others. Even politicians do it. And when the teens see ‘respected’ members of the community use it like that, they will too.

What is the perfect age?

 There is no right age for children to own gadgets (Shutterstock)

There is no right age for children to own gadgets even for entertainment purposes. Parents should purposefully delay buying their children gadgets until it is absolutely necessary.

There are several programs that can be introduced to occupy their spare time like reading, playing musical instruments and nurturing any of their extra-curricular interests. Children imitate better than they listen and parents are their first role models. If parents introduce anything to them they should get into that program too.

As they come of age, it is vital to wean them slowly into social media. Prepare them for some of the dangers that come with it like cyber-bullying and teach them essentials like ignoring pop-ups which often lead to lewd content.

In cases where a child has already gone wayward, it is best that the child gets help before disciplining. Some flare-ups are a cry for help which should be used as a teachable moment. The parents or any other adult involved in solving the matter should go down to the child’s level and speak with them, with the intention of listening.

It truly does take a village to bring up a child. It is advisable that a child has good relationships with other people close to the parent so that they can have someone to talk to if they feel like they cannot talk to the parent, first.

Bullying is rampant in schools. The first step is that parents need to take the relationships with their children seriously and make them intentional; above all, parents should learn to communicate with their children effectively. Above all, there is no perfect parent but parents have to try and be very intentional with their parenting.

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