Young kids with cell­phones face a hid­den risk

Iran Daily - - Society -

Cy­ber­bul­ly­ing starts early, and eight- and nine-year-olds with cell­phones are es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble, new re­search found.

Ac­cord­ing to, study re­searcher El­iz­a­beth Eng­lan­der, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at Bridge­wa­ter State Univer­sity in Mas­sachusetts, said, “Par­ents of­ten cite the ben­e­fits of giv­ing their child a cell­phone, but our re­search sug­gested that giv­ing young chil­dren these de­vices may have un­fore­seen risks as well.”

She and her col­leagues sur­veyed nearly 4,600 stu­dents in third, fourth and fifth grades be­tween 2014 and 2016.

Over­all, about 10 per­cent said they’d been vic­tims of a cy­ber­bully. How­ever, younger stu­dents with phones were much more likely to re­port elec­tronic abuse, the study showed.

Cell­phones also in­creased the stu­dents’ odds of be­com­ing cy­ber­bul­lies them­selves. This was true in all three grades, the study found.

The re­searchers found that older kids were most likely to have phones — about six in 10 stu­dents. But half of fourth graders and about 40 per­cent of third graders had them as well.

Hav­ing a phone gives kids more op­por­tu­nity to en­gage pos­i­tively and neg­a­tively with their peers through so­cial me­dia and tex­ting, the re­searchers ex­plained. This con­stant ac­cess ups the like­li­hood that stu­dents will send or re­ceive im­pul­sive texts or mes­sages.

The study au­thors cau­tioned par­ents to con­sider the po­ten­tial down­side of pro­vid­ing a cell­phone to a child not yet in mid­dle school.

“At the very least, par­ents can en­gage in dis­cus­sions and ed­u­ca­tion with their child about the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­her­ent in own­ing a mo­bile de­vice, and the gen­eral rules for com­mu­ni­cat­ing in the so­cial sphere,” Eng­lan­der said in a news re­lease from the Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics.

The study find­ings are sched­uled for pre­sen­ta­tion at an Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics meet­ing, in Chicago. Un­til pub­lished in a peer-re­viewed med­i­cal jour­nal, re­search pre­sented at meet­ings is usu­ally con­sid­ered pre­lim­i­nary.


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