It is a modern dilemma. Should you give your child a smartphone or try to keep them as far away from technology as possible?

Up to 91% of 11-year-olds now own a smartphone, making them almost ubiquitous among kids. But do kids who don’t have phones miss out or gain unexpected advantages? You might understand if, as a parent, you thought of a smartphone as a type of Pandora’s box that could unleash all the world’s sins on the good life of your child. Anyone would want to opt out after reading the dizzying assortment of headlines about the potential effects of children’s phone and social media use. It seems that this contemporary parenting issue affects even famous people. Madonna has admitted that she would never again give her older children phones when they were 13 years old. On the other hand, you presumably own a phone yourself and view it as a necessary tool for daily living, including video calls, family photo albums, and online shopping. Will your child miss out if they don’t have a phone if their peers and classmates are all getting one? In particular, even though there isn’t conclusive proof that having a phone or accessing social media is bad for kids’ well-being in general, it may not be the whole picture. Recent findings indicate that there may be specific developmental phases during which children are more susceptible to negative outcomes.

Although there are still many unanswered issues regarding how social media and cell phones will affect kids and teenagers in the long run, the study that has already been done shows some of the primary risks and advantages.