A research commissioned by Panda Security shows that parents believe that the right age to have a smartphone is between 11 and 13 years
At what age do children start using smartphones? Panda Security, a Spanish company active in the world of computer security, has tried to answer this important question through the creation of a survey whose data have been recently released and analyzed.
It happens more and more often, in fact, that children come into contact with electronic devices of all kinds - smartphones and tablets, mainly - from an early age. It's not at all uncommon, for example, to come across children - even those just a few months old - in a restaurant eating with their eyes on a cell phone screen. A behavior that, according to some scientific researches, affects the cerebral and cognitive development of children. So, what is the right age to start using a smartphone? Let's take a look at the results of Panda Security's research.
Why should children have a smartphone?
There are several reasons that can induce a parent to buy a smartphone for his or her child. Above all, the possibility of being in constant contact with children, wherever they are. And don't underestimate the "social pressure" (if all my friends have a phone, I should have one, too) or, as already mentioned, the "distraction" factor, to be used with children when you're in a public place.
Smartphones and children: at what age?
The research conducted in the United States by Panda Security shows that 40% of respondents agree that the right age to get a smartphone is between 11 and 13, during middle school. However, 25% of children under the age of 6 already have access to phones, spending up to 21 hours a week in front of the small display.
A trend similar to that found in Italy where, based on data published by Auditel-Censis, parents agree that the right age is middle school, but then, in practice, 12% of children between the ages of 4 and 10 already use or own one.
86.4% of kids in the 11-17 age group have one in their pocket, while 49.6% of 4-17 year olds use it exclusively and without any parental control.
The Panda Security study then dwells on the use that is made of the device, showing how the main concern of parents is excessive use that can result in possible addiction. Parents are also concerned about phenomena such as cyberbullying, exposure to nudity and violence.
Cell Phone and Brain Development in Children
Panda Security went further, seeking to understand whether cell phone use can affect children's brain development. It conducted a study in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, which found that mobile device screens overstimulate children between the ages of 4 and 6, causing them to produce dopamine and adrenaline in their developing brains.