Another dot in the blogosphere?

Phone debate

Posted on: March 12, 2021

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I enjoy the HiHo Kids series where children sample food they have not eaten before. This video was the first one I found that featured a friendly debate between a mother and her daughter about the latter’s right to get a phone.

Spoiler: The daughter, Phoebe, won two out of three rounds of the debate while her mother won just one. But her mother still won. The challenge was seemed to be stacked against the child.

I could focus on how this was not a proper debate and the judging seem arbitrary. Only one of the three judges was a teacher who had some structure on how to analyse and evaluate statements.

I could also dwell on how the child presented possibilities while the mother focused on her worries. The child projected and the mother rejected.

Or I could zoom in on how the mother wanted her child to enjoy childhood. I wonder how valid it is to equate owning and using a phone with losing childhood. Who is to say that the phone is not part of childhood?

But no. I focus on the adults in the video bringing up Phoebe’s age and the most common comments left about the video.

The judges seemed impressed that Phoebe was so well-spoken for an eight-year-old. She certainly held her ground. Others might describe her as mature for her age. And yet the adults felt that being eight was too young.

Just how young is too young? Age is not the issue. The maturity, readiness, and need are. We probably know of 16-year-olds that should not have phones and kids half that age who are wise beyond their years.

Many of the arguments in the YouTube comments contained a variation of “when I was that age…” or “I am older and I still don’t have a phone”. They are missing the point. It is not their time or context we are talking about. It is Phoebe’s time now and the age we are living in.

Kids need to not just be savvy with technology but also wise with it. The longer they are denied technology and the less guidance we give them as they use it, the less prepared they will be.

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