Smartphone use has grown significantly over the last decade. It isn’t just adults who are spending more time with their mobile devices, though. Children have also started using the technology. This may sound like bad news to some, but it actually represents a growing interest in using smartphones as tools for learning as well as for playing games and communicating with friends. Many of today’s apps and mobile devices even include features that give parents control over what their kids can and cannot access.
Recent research shows that 2-year-olds spend 10 minutes or more per day using smartphones that belong to their parents and older siblings. As they get older, they devote even more time to using mobile devices. Today’s teenagers spend over three hours per day using smartphones. Teens even say that their phones are more important to them than television.
App developers know that children of all ages have access to smartphones and other mobile devices. They have responded by creating thousands of products that appeal to kids and parents alike. Educational games, for instance, have become extremely popular. Kids between 2 and 10 years old play at least one educational game per week. They spend about a third of their phone time using educational media.
Many parents worry that their children will use mobile devices to access adult content. That’s a reasonable concern that smartphone makers have already addressed. The Sony Xperia Z3 from T-Mobile, for instance, lets parents use a Kid Mode app that limits their children’s access to age-appropriate apps. This gives kids more opportunities to use new technology to have fun and learn in a safe environment.
Mobile devices are here to stay, so it makes sense for parents to take precautions that will let their kids explore these tools so they can learn, communicate, and entertain themselves without accessing inappropriate material or personal apps.