Parents should NOT give their children mobile phones before they turn 11, top psychiatrist says
Children who use smartphones from a young age are at greater risk of suffering from depression and anxiety, according to a leading psychiatrist. The psychiatrist, Dr Jon Goldin, has warned parents against buying smartphones for their children before they have reached secondary school.
Goldin, who is the vice chairman of the Royal College of Psychologists, claims that parents are forced into getting smartphones for young children so that they are not left out at school. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said, "Children often say to their parents: “All my friends are [getting phones] and you are not allowing me to do that".
He shared that government guidance and awareness may possibly help parents to not give in to their children's wants and help them hold their ground.
"In that situation, parents do need the support of national guidance. I don’t think we can legislate [to restrict it to under 11s] but this guidance would back parents up when they were having conversations with their 10-year-olds," he continued. Goldin implored the government to suggest and recommend that children under the age of 11 should be allowed about two hours of social media on a day and not more.
Goldin believes that social media tends to draw many negative emotions from children and can lead them to feel anxious and depressed before adding the dangers of cyberbullying. He also called upon social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter to make it more difficult for children to lie about their age and be able to create social media accounts before they are at least 13 years old.
It is believed that four out of 10 children between the ages of 8 and 11 own a smartphone. According to a poll by the Priory Group, around 40% of parents are in agreement that children under the of 16 should not be permitted to own and use smartphones. The poll also revealed that an estimated 67% of parents wanted the government to dictate how old a child has to be to have a phone.
Around 1,000 parents participated in the poll out of which 92% thought that the internet was having a very negative impact on their children. Other parents were worried that children's addiction to smartphones was affecting their sleep while other parents were of the opinion that excessive social media time was resulting in their children facing low-self esteem.
A major report recently revealed that an average adult checks their cellphone once in every 12 minutes and Goldin's warning comes right after this report. As reported by Ofcom, six out of 10 people revealed that they are unable to live life without their phones. Half the group shared that they were spending way too much time online and addiction to devices was ruining personal relationships.
Recently, an expert shared that it is seriously advisable that parents confiscate their phones at night after he banned his 17-year-old from using the device in bed. According to professor Adam Joinson, a British author, academic and public speaker, parents should keep their children's phones at night and buy alarm clocks instead.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Joinson said: "It causes endless fights but otherwise he will be on it all night. As parents, we have a responsibility of care. Generally, I think parents are remiss if they allow their kids to keep phones in their bedrooms."