NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The holidays are around the corner and that means checking off items on those wish lists.
As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reports, many parents are trying to figure out if now is a good time to get their kids a smartphone.
This year, phones are what kids want, whether their parents like it or not.
Even for kids as young as 6. Claire is 7 years old, and she thinks she’s ready.
“It’s an important part of life, and my dad always has a phone with him,” she said.
Claire wouldn’t be the first elementary schooler to have an iPhone.
In fact, around half of kids have smartphones by age 11.
The dilemma parents are running into is how to stay connected with their kids, without getting them hooked on tech too soon.
If you do plan to get your child a phone this year, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a smartphone. There are plenty of kid-friendly options on the market.
Options like a GPS tracker with walkie-talkie features or a watch with two-way and text. And don’t forget those basic, talk-and-text flip phones.
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“Unfortunately, it’s a little bit of a losing battle. Eventually they’re going to wear you down and probably make you get a smartphone, but these are interim solutions,” said David Carnoy, CNET executive editor.
But some say what’s the rush? A nationwide campaign called “Wait Until 8th” is asking parents to pledge to wait until at least 8th grade to give their kids a smartphone.
“I work in a school and I see it with middle school boys. They can’t even concentrate in class because they’re thinking about what’s on their phone in their pocket,” said Jessica Brenner, of the Upper East Side.
Dr. Harris Stratyner is associate professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai. He worries about the effects smartphones are having on our kids.
“Attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, cell phones just feed it because they give a person an ability to constantly be distracted,” he said.
“I don’t want my kid to be the only kid without a cellphone,” said Mark Marin, of the Upper East Side.
It’s that peer pressure that makes kids want a phone even more.
Ultimately, it’s up to the parents decide how young is too young.