Cellphones 'good' for kids

2011-08-12 09:27

Johannesburg - Cellphones and social media networks have a valuable place in education and can, if used correctly, be a child's friend rather than an enemy.

This is the opinion of Dr Beverley Evangeledis, an educational psychologist who works as a specialist and counsellor at the AdvTech private schools and presents work sessions for parents and pupils.

Evangeledis said parents and teachers had to realise the use of technology in schools was increasing.

"Children have different learning styles and with technology you can get more out of them. But they have to be led to discover knowledge and to use technology to their educational advantage."

Evangeledis said there were examples in several schools on how pupils used technology to network when doing homework.


She said there was no right or wrong age at which to expose children to technology.

The younger a child was, the more involved parents had to be, however. "Parents have to set rules and boundaries from the word go. The younger the children, the more parents have to ensure that passwords and codes exist to monitor, for example, internet and technology use."

Evangeledis believes too many parents simply handed over a cellphone without thinking of the consequences.

"You should handle it as if you were giving your child a very expensive gift with a manual. You have to go through the instructions together and realise what the power of the device is."

Evangeledis said networks like Twitter, Facebook and MXit could be negative if it created a false sense of friendship under children and isolated them socially.

"Real communication, where people see one another and listen to each other, remains important.

"If a child's world mostly exists of the pushing of buttons, they can later have trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality."

Evangeledis pointed out that cyber bullying and gossip, especially among girls, was increasing and that parents should be aware of it.

Regarding the amount of time that children spent on cellphones and networks, Evangeledis said parents should exercise strict control.

Otherwise one had situations where young children until late at night were busy with MXit or SMSes under their blankets and were tired at school the next day.

  • MissGremlinSays - 2011-08-12 10:12

    Yeah. So is fluride. Apart from the small flaw, that used excessively, it can be strongly linked to certain types of occuring cancer...

      MissGremlinSays - 2011-08-12 10:14


      Rykman Seun - 2011-08-12 13:42

      Fluoride has never been strongly linked to certain types of occuring cancer.

  • refilwe mashigo - 2011-08-12 10:54

    Oh please. which child would opt for education via cellphone while there're things like internet, games etc. cellphones are not for positive education. period.

  • ANC support - 2011-08-12 12:34

    Great way to deviate the attention from Malema and Cele issues at hand. Nothing like shock treatment to steer the boat in opposite directions. Tell you, ...these f#&*^$@rs are way more clever than U think!

  • ageing_liberal - 2011-08-12 13:05

    This article is jointly sponsored by Vodacom and MTN. Where does Dr Beverley Evangeledis get her daily bread?

  • Unskinny Bob - 2011-08-12 14:00

    If you voted "Depends on how they're used and controlled" then good luck to you. New programs, hacks, overrides, short cuts, etc. are going to be available all the time. You cannot, short of inspecting a child's phone every 5 minutes, control WHAT and HOW they use their device.

  • Trueblue - 2011-08-12 14:29

    Cell phones can be used effectively by school children, but there should also be an emphasis on cell phone etiquette - the how, when and where of cell phone usage. Schools should be cell phone free zones for learners so that they can learn traditional social skills and learn ethical behaviour based on respect and responsibility. I have seen groups of school children at break sitting next to each other and communicating solely through their cell phones. I have seen learners go through the sweats and become very agitated when they cannot check their phones every few seconds, and I have seen others totally destroyed through the rumour-mongering that often goes hand in hand with being attached to social networks and communication. Nowadays, with BBMs it's become impossible to teach sometimes as messages come through thick and fast about some "sick" topic. So, yeas, technology is good, but there should be a code of conduct as well. This might even be an eye-opener for their parents, too. Or maybe, like school uniforms, there should be a uniform cell phone for kids. Can you imagine!

  • greatgodpan - 2011-08-12 15:50

    i totally disagree.......cellphones and networking are not even good for many adults as far as im concerned............lets give our kids acid too it expands the mind..............

  • EliseMoore - 2011-08-23 03:29

    Its a question that we as parent seem to have to face sooner and sooner these days - I've held my son until this year with his first cell phone and he's finishing up middle school this year. I figured that by the time he entered high school that it would be totally unavoidable so I figured I would start him off small now and then hopefully, we could contribute to a better one later on. I choose a prepaid company (Tracfone) exactly for this reason because I saw the aircards as a way to test his self control and give him a sense of responsibilty - the aircards are low minute/text and last for 3 months at a time before renewal so its up to him to keep track rather than me. I made the inital phone investment and even there, it was a compromise between I thought he should have and what he wanted. Either way, I figure that if you have to give into the cell phone demon then a prepaid carrier like Tracfone would offer some form of parental control.

      Alex - 2011-11-01 01:24

      I like tracfone for my son because I can assure he doesn't go over on minutes and it teaches him some responsibility. If he wants to add minutes himself he can go ahead and do so with his own money.

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