10 reasons not to give your kid your smartphone

Don't be the parent who uses your smartphone as a pacifier!

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Credit: Balazs Koren

Back when I was a kid, kids didn't have smartphones. Actually, nobody had smartphones. Because it was 1990 and my parents made me entertain myself with things like typewriters and baseballs.

Just kidding, we totally had cutting-edge Game Boys back then…but I digress.

These days, it seems like everywhere I look there's a toddler playing with his mom's or dad's smartphone—dropping it, drooling on it, putting it in their mouth, buying $99 worth of in-game currency on it…twice. And the parents' reasoning seems to be something like, "Well, that's one way to shut them up." But I’m here to tell you (and I shouldn't have to): Giving your child your smartphone is a terrible, terrible idea. Here's why:

It costs $600!

I don't know about you, but if I'd asked my parents, at age 4, to let me play with a device that cost even $100, they'd have laughed in my face. And yeah, while I know you're not paying (at least) $600 for your phone thanks to carrier-subsidized pricing…you will be when your kid drops it and you have to replace it before your contract runs out.

Kids have developing motor skills

Your smartphone is made of glass and metal. Mostly glass. You can barely keep from dropping it, so your three-year-old? Definitely going to drop it.

They'll become dependent

You know how you're not supposed to give kids pacifiers all the time to shut them up, because then they'll become dependent on their pacifier? Same thing with smartphones. And, well, sometimes you're going to want to actually use your smartphone. So good luck with that!

They won't sleep

Screens – all screens, even tiny smartphone screens – can disrupt your sleep. And kids need sleep. A lot of sleep. Because they're growing, and also because they become obnoxious little jerks when they haven't slept enough.

They'll become social outcasts

Or maybe not, if every other child they interact with also gets to use their parents' smartphones from an early age. Seriously, though, face-to-face social interaction is something your child should be learning now, while it's still acceptable to be a socially awkward fool.

Limited creativity

Smartphones turn us into consumers, not creators. Remember when you were a kid and you had to use your imagination? "What is imagination?" –Kids today.

Your kids will never see the sun

My parents totally used to do that thing where they wouldn't let me watch TV because I should "go outside and get some fresh air" (also, my parents are both gym teachers and therefore very anti-screens). Well the saddest thing ever is watching your kid go outside…while glued to a smartphone.

Smartphones are distracting

You usually give your kid your smartphone to distract them, right? Because you're waiting in line, they're getting bored, and they start fussing. Well, there's a problem here: If you always give your kid a distracting object when they start getting bored, how will they ever learn to deal with boredom?

Three words: In. App. Purchases.

Yes, Google will refund unauthorized in-app purchases made by your kids. But waiting for a refund is not the same as never having that money leave your account in the first place.

They'll eventually want their own

LOL, sorry kid. Maybe when you're 18. And you can buy it yourself.

And one reason you're going to ignore all this and give it to them anyway…

Because there's nothing like the sweet, sweet silence of a toddler entranced by YouTube videos.

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