Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How young is too young for cell phones?

While many teachers that I work with claim cell phones should only be considered for learning at the secondary level (if at all) because most younger students do not have their own cell phone, a new article disputes this notion. The article, Should a 10-Year -Old Have a Cell phone?, describes many parents who are purchasing cell phones for children as young as 8 in order to keep tabs on their kids, stay in touch, and to keep them safe in case of emergencies. The article references a study (Jupiter) that states by the end of this year (2007) 1/2 of 12-13 year olds will have a cell phone and 1/3 of 10-11 year olds will have their own cell phone! While many of these cell phones are limited and restricted (such as only being able to call a few numbers and no text messaging), I have a feeling that the age of children with cell phones will only decrease over time (as I mentioned in an earlier post, PBS has developed programs for preschoolers to use on cell phones). Thus I think it is important to consider potential learning uses of cell phones with students of all ages. The younger we start to educate students on appropriate cell phone use and misuse, the better chance we have to teach them how to use their cell phones as life-long learning tools, rather than just a social toy!

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