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Eric Bruno

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

BlackBerrys for kids

May 14, 2009

I recall the decision used to be whether to get your kid a cell phone, and what age was appropriate. Parents struggled with this at first, but now it seems to be a no-brainer. It's ok for your child to have a cell phone if he/she understands its proper usage. It gives the parent peace of mind knowing they can get in touch with their children, especially if they're involved in after-school activities, clubs, and so on. 

But that decision appears to have been replaced with deciding when's the right time to get your child a BlackBerry (or a smart phone, really). My daughter, unhappy with her cell, wants a BlackBerry Curve really badly. Why? Texting. Full keyboard. Period. She and her friends don't really like iPhone because its keyboard can be harder to use. I remember when only executives had BlackBerrys. The decision is made a little less painful for me because at least the BlackBerry is an all-Java device. Of course my daughter should have a Java-enabled smart phone, right?

When I was a kid, I wanted a TI-99 home computer. No other kids I knew had home computers at first, but that didn't stop my parents from getting it for me. They helped me upgrade to my next two home computers also (a C64 and Amiga). At the time, they may have thought all I wanted to do was play games on them, and they could have decided against it. Good thing they didn't.

That's why I plan to get my daughter the BlackBerry. On one hand, she may want it only to make it easier to text with her friends. On the other hand, giving our kids access to the latest technology may be a blessing for their future. How about you? Do you agree or disagree? Does your pre-college child want or have a smart phone? Write in the comments section and share your opinion.

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