Cell Phones and Computers for Children–Toy or Tool?

by Debbie Twomey on December 5, 2013

WARNING! Hot Button Issue—at what age should we allow our children to use cell phones or computers?




My topic this week seems to be a controversial one, for many reasons. How old a child is when we decide to allow them access to cell phones or computers is certainly a personal one, but we welcome different opinions.

It is the holiday season and we are pondering what to get our little ones. I got a bicycle with training with training wheels for my physically adept little 2 year old granddaughter. This may seem a bit too soon to some parentss but I know she is ready. So, is she ready for one of the amazing technological tools such as cell phones or laptops? Or is it too soon to give her such a "toy?"

My friend Dr Mary Starr posted a question about purchasing a Kindle for her precocious 3 ½ year old son and I was quite surprised by the responses. From suggestions to the right type and moderately priced Kindles to concerns about interfering with brain development, seems the jury may still be out on that question.

In Parents Magazine, author Pam Abrams tackles this issue too. In ”r u raising a digitally healthy child?” she reviews questions posed to parents regarding what may be best for your child. According to Common Sense Media “39% of all 2-4 year olds have used mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.”  Just how do we decide if and when our children should either have access or their own devices?

And if that question is not perplexing enough consider some studies that indicate the dangers of electromagnetic waves causing damage to young brains. In reviewing the data, I do not know whether I want to cover my house in aluminum foil or consider limiting even my exposure to cell phones and other electrical devices.

Should there be a movement to return back to basics like outdoor activities, not using devices to calculate Math(I am old enough to remember when you were NOT allowed to use any device but your brain to do your calculations), develop musical skills, run, jump, and avoid all devices? Well I certainly believe we better not abandon these activities for sure.

I must admit I am torn so I am going to have to rely on my common sense even if not everyone agrees it is not so common. And I will present both sides (and a couple different opinions) so all of you can make your own decisions.

Dr. Joseph Mercola states, “I am absolutely convinced that the explosion of cell phone usage around the world is a health disaster in waiting, and contributing to the rapid rise in several neurological epidemics, such as autism and early-onset of Alzheimer’s.” He believes that cell phone use equates to the rise of cigarette use so many years ago. And just like cigarette dangers some of the serious side effects will not be recognized for years.

It typically takes at least 10 to 20 years for cancers to show up, so now is the time when these risks will become apparent but here are some of the dangers Dr Mercola is concerned about now. Common illnesses and ailments, which have all been scientifically linked to cell phone information carrying radio waves:

·      Alzheimer’s, senility and dementia

·      Parkinson’s

·      Autism

·      Fatigue

·      Headaches

·      Sleep disruptions

·      Altered memory function, poor concentration and spatial awareness

·      Although cancer and brain tumors are most often cited as the potential health risks from cell phone radiation, as you can see, cancer is not the only, or most common danger that you and your children face.

The best way to protect yourself would be to simply not use a cell phone and revert back to a corded phone. At the very least I would urge you to not let your kids use them or severely limit their use. Their developing nervous systems and thinner skulls are simply too vulnerable to cell phone damage.


There are comparisons between cell phone use and cigarette smoking:

·         Manufacturers keep valuable and significant facts about the possible dangers to public health

·         Government conflict of interest created by lobbies for both industries and revenues collected from use taxes

·         Expensive, effective marketing campaigns aimed at every segment of society, including children

·         Massive amounts of scientific data proving beyond a shadow of a doubt the direct link between these products and life-threatening damage to the human body

·         The addictive nature of both products



I am not a scientist. I certainly want to do all I can to protect my granddaughter and insure she has optimal health as she grows up. So, for me, I have to choose between the scary facts and the world we all function within and that world is evolving technologically and I am going to keep up.

We live in a world with many dangers, in our homes, in our foods, in our water and in our air. And we live in a world that is moving forward at an accelerated rate of speed. Knowing this, going back to basics is not enough.

I will have to determine the balance in our home, one that benefits and protects McKenna, But, I know if I were to eliminate all the electrical devices I would not only lose my employment which I certainly need, but I would severely limit this baby’s ability to keep up or even advance as I would hope for her.I do believe these toy/tools (and all the various applications available) are excellent ways to teach and learn in healthy doses of time. I would not allow unlimited access.

So, if you ask me at what age I will be allowing McKenna to have a cell phone—not till she can earn it herself unless there is a dire need or emergency situation that requires it. But, I will begin by allowing her use of new tools now such as the Leapfrog pad and probably a Kindle next year if she is ready. I will also keep taking her to parks, playgrounds, the YMCA and whatever else I can do to try and help her become a well-rounded person.


"I have dedicated my life to the care and welfare of children. I feel privileged to share what I have learned with you. I am also committed to continuously learning.iStock_000004213744XSmall  I will keep informed of the latest information in parenting children from newborns to teens and pass it on to all of you.”   I will also use that same passion to help you create a dynasty generate increases in your business with straightforward and specialized media managing skills that guarantee your connection and scope will grow. Keep up to date reading our posts and discover valuable insights that can make parenting and succeeding in the business of the blogger– the most exciting adventure. (Debbie Twomey) https://www.facebook.com/debbietwomeySMM


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

lincoln's grampa December 5, 2013 at 5:34 am

i applaud your decision in the last paragraph.  there is wisdom and balance represented…  (gee, how did all of us over the age over thirty not just survive, but thrive in a decidedly less complicated life?!)


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