Everyone and their mother has a cell phone at this point, it seems.
But not everyone is on board with children of younger and younger ages acquiring their own phones.
One dad on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, for instance, was reluctant.
But when Redditor Officialthrowaway2 expressed his concerns to his fiancée, she had a negative response.
Confused, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was overthinking it.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not wanting my daughter to have a phone?”
The OP was reluctant to his young child having her own phone.
“My fiancée (28 [Female]) and I (29 [Male]) have a daughter who just turned 3.”
“So yesterday my fiancée told me that she hates having to keep giving up her phone to our daughter and that we should give her a phone.”
“To this, I said, ‘Absolutely not, she’s just turning three, though, we could get her those learning tablets since she will be starting preschool soon.'”
But the OP’s fiancée absolutely did not agree.
“She told me, ‘Loosen up, you’re acting like those helicopter parents, and most toddlers have phones. She always throws fits when I don’t give her my phone, so what if we just give her my old phone maybe?'”
“I told her, ‘Maybe when she’s 12, or 13, but for now, let’s just maybe get her that educational tablet,’ and we just left it at that.”
“She’s been giving me the silent treatment and now it’s making me wonder AITA?”
The OP also added this note about his fiancée.
“I’ve always given up my phone to her, but when she has fits, I would say no.”
“Because she (my fiancée) told our daughter that I’m the boring parent that ALWAYS says ‘No’ and she’s the fun parent that always says ‘Yes,’ as a result, she would go to my fianceé whenever she wants things, such as sweets before bed and of course, her phone.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were quick to point out the detrimental effects of giving a three-year-old a phone.
“NTA. WTAF. My three-year-old asks to see pictures on my phone but doesn’t need her own!”
“She has an educational tablet that she LOVES that we limit time on. Do not give that young moldable brain something to get hooked on.” – gillygillyj
“My mom is a teacher too, and she says she has kids in her group trying to tap printed pictures or stretch them to see better.”
“Once a three-year-old was crying the whole day because he saw my mom putting her phone in her bag in the morning and he wanted her to give it to him. She showed him all of the toys they had in the room, but all he wanted was her phone.” – sameasitwasbefore
“Preschool teacher here and it’s actually a big problem we face. Children of that age should be given extremely limited screen time. There are other activities they can do that are far more developmentally appropriate, although they do require more effort from the parents!” – Zealousideal-Set-592
“My son is 4 and there is no way I would get him a phone or a tablet. It wouldn’t last 5 minutes, his behavior would go to all hell and he simply doesn’t need it.”
“Kids this age need creative and imaginative play, not addictive screens. Toy people, cars, blocks to make towers, train tracks, dolls, dress-up clothes, etc. They don’t need smartphones.”
“OP, you’re NTA. Your partner is wrong about most toddlers having smartphones. I don’t think I’ve met a single parent who has given their kid a smartphone.”
“ETA: OP if your kid throws a fit because she is denied access to a phone, that should be further proof of how addictive they are and all the more reason NOT to let her have one.” – LikeEveryoneSheKnows
Others agreed it’s easier to give a child a screen, but it’s not necessarily better.
“It’s definitely easier to give the child a phone. They are sooo hard to keep busy but the screen keeps them occupied for hours.”
“Mine is only 4 months but he gets bored instantly, if the TV is on he can just stare for an hour. We actually had to stop turning on screens around him so he wouldn’t stare!”
“It’s honestly annoying. I try so hard to make our days fun and a friggin commercial is more entertaining” – baeshine
“NTA at all. Screens are incredibly addictive, especially at such a young age. If your toddler throws fits to get them, then maybe you should totally cut her off because it’s a slippery slope.”
“There are nice toddler books with music and sounds that would entertain her as much and move her mind away from screens.”
“Good luck” – Thejmax
“My SIL and MIL put phones in front of my niece and nephew all the time, and as soon as they do, they kids become absolute zombies, completely dead to the world.” – BroadElderberry
“You’re dead on. Screen time is solo time, without verbal or non-verbal interactions; that’s not great for developing brains. There’s a time and a place for it; I’m certainly not going to claim that my kiddo didn’t have any tablet/tv time, but it was monitored and strictly time-limited (except for plane flights – I totally cop to removing the time cap on international flights cross-continent).”
“H**l, kiddo is well into grade school now and screen time STILL has time limits (and if you forget to set the timer, your time is up immediately if we ask and there’s no timer). Kiddo knows this; kiddos friends know this – and observe the limits in our house.”
“The idea that a kid needs their own device at THREE tells me that mom isn’t actually paying attention. She’s counting on the device to do the child-minding while she’s on her OWN device. Not good…”
“OP, stick to your guns on this one – kid-friendly tablet, and do yourself a favor and put a ‘time monitoring’ app on it; I suspect your kid is getting WAY more screen than you think and that’s something you need to know.” – Sashi-Dice
“It also affects language acquisition and motor skill development. Absolutely don’t do it, kids should not have tech so young.” – westbridge1157
The subReddit was in agreement on this one: a phone can be fairly beneficial depending on how it’s used, but there is still ample evidence to support how phone usage is detrimental to a child’s developing brain.
Plus, if a father really doesn’t want his child to have a phone, it shouldn’t be up to other people to decide how he should parent. As for his fiancée, however, the conversation clearly isn’t over.