Purchasing mobile phones for your kids can make a difference during emergencies, but can affect their development when used inappropriately. According to a 2013 article at Dailymail.co.uk, most parents don't monitor their kids' phone usage because they don't want to invade their privacy. Letting your kids spend several hours texting or chatting on Facebook with friends affects their social and communication skills.
If you are worried about your kids’ performance on grammar tests, texting could be eroding their vocabulary. Although smartphones are equipped with tools to spell-check words as you type, most people opt for speed writing, often shortening words and substituting certain letters with symbols. A 2012 report published in the journal "New Media and Society" affirms that the use of mobile devices by adolescents has fueled a culture of text messaging, with extensive use of abbreviations and grammatical shortcuts that have negative implications on grammar assessment scores. Encourage your kids to send messages using formal grammar to improve their writing skills.
Your kids' speech development can be affected when they send messages using informal language. For instance, it is common for kids to type "lol" -- laughing out loud -- in reply to a funny text. When it becomes a habit, the kid can speak the same word -- instead of laughing -- when you have tried your best to crack a joke. Bonnie Ellis of the University of Phoenix Detroit Campus notes that kids can even text people sitting next to them instead of talking face to face. Limiting the number of texts your kids send in a day can enhance their speaking skills.
Although texting helps your kids communicate with their friends, it diminishes their ability to initiate face-to-face conversations. If their phones are Internet enabled, they will spend more time surfing the web than hanging out with friends. Melissa Ortega, a child psychologist at New York's Child Mind Institute, asserts that kids who text a lot don't know how to solve conflicts face to face. Good social skills help kids improve relationships with classmates and teachers. Allow them enough time to go out, socialize and make new friends.
When you allow your kids to use their phones while studying or doing homework, they can develop poor study habits. Most kids cannot resist the urge to reply to a text message or check who is on the social networks. They are unable to follow their reading timetable or concentrate on studying. According to a 2009 article at Nytimes.com, texting can lead to distraction in school, falling grades, anxiety and sleep deprivation. Ensure your kids are not using their phones when studying; they could switch them off or leave them in their bedrooms. Assist them with their homework to help improve their study habits.
- Daily Mail: Parents of Children as Young as Six Admit They Don't Monitor Their Child's Phone Use Because They Don't Want to 'Invade Their Privacy'
- Journal of New Media and Society: Texting, Techspeak, and Tweens: the Relationship Between Text Messaging and English Grammar Skills
- University of Phoenix: Is Texting Bad for Kids’ Communications Skills?
- Huffington Post: When Children Text All Day, What Happens To Their Social Skills?
- New York Times: Texting May Be Taking a Toll
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