The first smartphone came out in 2007, when I was 12 years old, and I didn’t get my first smartphone until 2010, when I was 15. Though I had a smartphone for most of my teens, the fact that I was a kid (at least a younger one) before the age of smartphones I think allowed me to have a more wholesome childhood. How you ask? Read on!
1. The age of social media didn’t add to my insecurities
I still struggle with insecurities as an adult, and I can only imagine how much worse they would’ve been if I was a tween in the age of smartphones. Even though Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were around when I was in high school it was mostly before the age of influencers and basically everyone having a profile. Seeing beautiful people posting pictures of themselves doing beautiful things and feeling the need to be active on the sites during my formative years would’ve driven me up a wall. I would feel the need to compare myself to them constantly without having the maturity I have now as an adult.
2. I feel I remember my childhood memories more fondly
Now that smartphones, and phones in general, have cameras, basically every moment of your life can be photographed. Now, I am no scientist, but I feel that this allows you to not remember moments as clearly because you know you can always look back at the photos. During my childhood, even though my parents took pictures on primitive digital cameras and film, I didn’t have that convenience in my pocket which allowed me to base my childhood off mostly memories. When you look back on memories you tend to glorify moments, but I don’t hate that because it helps me remember my treasured childhood memories fondly and forget the ones I want to forget.
3. I did more things outside and was more present with my friends
Not to sound like an old man, but kids before the age of smartphones did more things outside (or at least outside without the distraction of a palm sized computer). We played pretend in the backyard, not having to worry about checking our Twitter feed or how many likes our last Instagram post got. I know that every generation feels that the new one has something additional keeping them from truly experience being a child and staying indoors, but with smartphones, I feel like that feeling is finally justified.
4. Smartphones kept me from being exposed from things a child shouldn’t be exposed to
Since smartphones have the ability to access the internet, it is giving kids and teenagers access to delve deep into what the endless expanse has to offer. Imagine being 12 years old and coming across a video of someone’s suicide on youtube? Or a pornography? The things a kid can accidentally stumble across while surfing the web is endless and probably has shaped and scarred many kids to this date. Not saying that I didn’t come across some things using the internet when I was a kid, but the messed up things have only increased since then and have become much more accessible (whether the kids are meaning to come across them or not).
5. We were ignorant kids
Smartphones allow us to be constantly updated with the happenings around the world because of all the news apps that can send notifications to our phones. When I was a kid, though, did I really want to know of the bad things happening around the world all day every day? Of course not! I wanted to pretend that I was going to be a baseball player by hitting a tennis ball in my unfinished basement. I wanted to go out with my friends to the field behind my house and find a new tree we could build a fort around. Worrying and being informed about that kind of stuff should be reserved for when you are older so you can properly process it and not have it ruin the time of your life where you are supposed to have no worries.
6. I probably paid more attention in class
I got my first smartphone when I turned 15 and let me tell you, once I got it I started paying in class way, way, way less (as did my peers). We all started playing words with friends and other various mobile games while the teachers weren’t looking, which in return means that we probably weren’t paying attention to what the teachers were saying. (Sorry teachers! I shouldn’t of done that and on behalf of all my fellow high school classmates we apologize!) I can’t even imagine what high school and middle school like now and the added stress the it creates the already stressed out teachers.
7. It’s just better to be a kid without a smartphone
Consider this entry on the list a sum of all the other entries. It’s just better to be a kid without a smartphone! The age of smartphones has changed the way we all interact with each other (some for worse, some for better) and has accelerated how fast kids grow up. Smartphones are useful, yes, and I understand why parents give them to their kids, but don’t you ever wish that there were phones meant specifically for children so that they wouldn’t become addicted to the damn things until they were older? I don’t know, maybe this is just me being a senile and pessimistic 23 year-old so take this with a grain of salt.