Understanding the Arguments Against Cell Phone Usage by Youths



Phones have become an integral part of many societies across the globe. They are powerful tools that allow levels of communication and connectivity that would be impossible without their existence. Many individuals see them as absolutely essential for both personal and business lives. In fact, the ability to reach out through phones is so vital that there are even enterprises like VoiceNation that center around providing a quality phone answering service

Mobile phones have invaded nearly every aspect of today’s American culture, acting as valuable pieces of work equipment, sources of entertainment, safety necessities, status symbols and more. Companies like Google, Samsung and Apple constantly roll out new updates and versions as they compete for consumers’ hearts and money. One area of controversy regarding cell phones is their use by kids, tweens and teens. According to the National Public Radio, 53% of American children had one by age 11 and 84% of teens owned one in 2019. However, many parents and other adults have expressed concern about young people possessing them.

The Temptation and Distraction

A common and admittedly reasonable fear is that phones will act as a distraction to youths, influencing them to turn their attention away from important matters like family time, academics and preparation for the future. Parents worry that grades may decline as children and teens neglect their studies and homework in favor of scrolling through social media, texting, watching videos and other tech consumption activities. They may also be concerned that their offspring will get in trouble at school for using devices in class instead of learning. Kids may stay up late on their phones instead of sleeping and even sneak around their parents to do so. These fears are compounded by the idea that screen time is bad for youths, shortening their attention spans and teaching them to indulge the urge for instant gratification. 

The Possibility of Developing an Addiction

Parents may also worry that their children will become addicted to their mobile devices, affecting their sleep, development and lifestyle. There is, admittedly, some basis behind this concern since a 2016 report revealed that 50% of teenagers admitted to experiencing some form of addiction to them. Technology addiction is a concern for many, though there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not it is a real thing. 

The Potential for Social Underdevelopment

There is also a belief that spending too much time engaged in cell phones and other technological activities may result in young people failing to develop social skills and relationships. Mobile devices are often seen as a way to avoid conversation or deep interaction with others in spite of the fact that they are a means of communication. The stereotype of children staring at their phones during dinner time and responding with grunts or short one-word answers to queries about their days is one many parents wish to avoid seeing in real life.  

The Expense

Smartphones are expensive in terms of both the actual device and monthly plans. The drive to upgrade to a new, better model every year only adds to the cost. Many working adults are unable to afford them, so the idea of children and teens having such expensive luxury items is ludicrous or even offensive to them. Then there is the money that goes into repairs if the owner is irresponsible and damages the phone. Many reasons that giving potentially immature individuals an expensive phone is in itself not a responsible decision. Parents may even argue that a simple cell phone is unnecessary because they didn’t need them when they were younger, so today’s generation of kids is simply spoiled or entitled. 

Cell phones (not necessarily smartphones) can help kids, tweens and teens keep in contact with adults. They are useful for emergencies and other areas of life. However, there are many arguments against younger individuals possessing them. 


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