One newer but major milestone with childhood and parenting is the question of when, not if, your child is ready for their own phone. Pink is opening up about why she feels her 10-year-old daughter, Willow, isn’t quite ready yet—and she brings up a lot of really great points.
“There’s a light side and a shadow side to technology in general for adults, as well,” she tells TODAY’s Carson Daly. “For kids, I’m not there yet. I have a 10-year-old who does not have a phone, although she pointed out to me yesterday, ‘You know most of the kids in my class, fifth grade, have a phone.’ That doesn’t move my needle. I don’t care.”
(Raise your hand if you’re getting flashbacks of your own parents asking you if you’d jump off a bridge if all of your friends were, too?)
She’s right though—just because some kids have something doesn’t mean it’s right for every kiddo. Though parental controls have come a long way in recent years, children can’t fully grasp what it means to be “online.” Especially when it comes to different apps, particularly social media apps.
That being said, we are raising a digitally native generation of children who will continue to use and benefit from technology for the rest of their lives. Pink, who is also mom to five-year-old Jameson, recognizes that, too.
“We can’t be dinosaurs ourselves as parents, we have to sort of embrace it and go with it,” Pink said.
The way we socialize through our phones has made today’s teens in particular more psychologically vulnerable than Millennials were.
“The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night,” said Jean Twenge in an excerpt from her book, adapted for The Atlantic. “The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health.”
Many parents also recognize that giving their tweens and teens a phone so they can contact them anytime—about rides and other activities—is one benefit of giving them a phone. But remember, flip phones still exist (it’s true). There are also other low-tech options when it comes to phones that can give parents peace of mind, too.
Kudos to Pink for knowing what’s right for her child while also recognizing we as parents can’t shut out technology entirely.