Tablets, smartphones, laptops, iPods—the list of electronic devices goes on and on. With so much technology surrounding us, it's no wonder that many devices like cell phones are now a part of daily life for adults.
But should they be a part of daily life for children?
Over the years, we have addressed similar topics, from whether or not we should use electronics while at church to what kind of technology boundaries should be made for children. But another increasingly important question is whether or not young children should be given the responsibility for taking care of—and wisely using—their own electronic devices.
A study conducted last April by the popular coupon company vouchercloud.net reported that on average, American children receive a cell phone at the tender age of 6. This reminded me of experience I had in sacrament meeting a few weeks ago, when I noticed a very young girl playing on an iPad just a few rows from where the speaker was talking. I was surprised how naturally she used the device and seemed to know what she was doing. And I couldn't help but think: What age will I give my children their own electronic devices?
Children seem to have a knack for technology, but they are also extremely impressionable. While technology can be used for education and other good purposes, it doesn't come without potential harm.
Elder Richard G. Scott once told Latter-day Saints, "You live in a world where technological advances occur at an astounding pace. It is difficult for many of my generation to keep up with the possibilities. Depending on how technology is used, these advances can be a blessing or a deterrent. Technology, when understood and used for righteous purposes, need not be a threat but rather an enhancement to spiritual communication."
We live in a world connected by and saturated with technology. So we need to ask ourselves, what is the impact of waiting to give a child electronic devices or giving a child electronic devices at an early age?
Even since 1998, prophets and apostles like L. Tom Perry have been giving advice like the following:
"I read an article the other day which stated that if an employer did not hire young, bright 16-year-olds today with their advanced understanding and feel for technology, the business would be out-of-date in the next decade. What a marvelous age you live in. With all of your increased opportunities, however, comes the challenge of staying close to the Lord and being obedient to His law. This is the way you remain strong and able to withstand the multitude of worldly pressures."
What age did you, or do you plan to, give your children electronic devices?
Take the poll below to find out what others are saying, or share more ideas in the comments!
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