Smartphones have taken over as the main consumer electronics device that everyone uses. And this is true of children, too. Recent research has found that some 63% of American kids spend more than two hours a day on “recreational” smartphone screen time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limits on screen-based media for children 6 and older. The reasons are clear. Besides unhealthy eye strain, “screens” represent a gateway to games and social sites that can be addicting.
Smartphones distract from healthier pursuits, like learning, going outside, socializing with friends and reading books.
This is especially harmful in social situations, where children learn to focus on their phones instead of on the people around them. Also, developing the habit of interacting via the messaging app style of abbreviated speech, jargon, acronyms and emoji can contribute to an inability to confidently speak or write in clear, complete sentences.
Smartphones can also disrupt sleep. The consensus among health experts and child development experts is that, in general, less smartphone screen time is better than more.
The consensus among health experts and child development experts is that, in general, less smartphone screen time is better than more.
Meanwhile, kids still want or need to look up information, get help with homework, contact their parents and do other tasks that smartphones can do.
That’s one of the reasons we created Chatterbox, which is (among other things) a smartphone replacement for some or all of the time.
We created Chatterbox to be a smartphone replacement for some or all of the time.
Once kids build their Chatterbox, they can teach it to answer questions, tell jokes, look up the time and weather, message mom and dad, turn on the lights, set alarms and timers — or do all kinds of tasks.
Interacting with Chatterbox takes place without screens — and without the addictive or distracting qualities of screens, games and social media.
Teaching Chatterbox to understand and respond encourages kids to learn how to communicate using complete, logical and clear sentences. And Chatterbox can be used socially where several friends or classmates can all use a single Chatterbox together, unlike smartphones, which encourage a single user to mentally block out other nearby people.
The solution to the many problems created for kids by technologies like smartphones isn’t to completely abstain from technology. The solution is to teach kids to use the right kind of technology as creators and makers, instead of mere “consumers.” The right technology for kids is healthy technology, free of the addictive and harmful effects of screens.