A worrying new study claims that kids who have cell phones are more likely to be cyberbullied, calling into question whether it's good to give them phones.
Parents, it may be a good idea to think twice before buying your child that cell phone. While you think that having a phone is important both from a social standpoint and in case of emergency, a new study claims that children with cell phones are far more likely to be cyberbullied than children who don’t have them.
The study examined cell phone ownership among kids in third to fifth grades, collecting data on 4,584 students betwewen 2014 and 2016, and found that 9.5 percent of children reported being a victim of cyberbullying, and those who owned cell phones were much more likely, especially in grades three and four.
A total of 49.6 percent of students reported owning a cell phone. Across all grades, more cell phone owners reported that they were sometimes the cyberbully as well. Scientists think this is because cell phones provider greater opportunity for cyberbullying.
“Parents often cite the benefits of giving their child a cell phone, but our research suggests that giving young children these devices may have unforeseen risks as well,” said Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Mass, in a statement from the American Acadmey of Pediatrics. “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.