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That there should be a legal age for using mobile phones

1 point
4 points
KushKush (PRO)

First and foremost, I would like to thank Bugsy460 for debating with me on this resolution. Lately it seems like me and Bugsy 460 are the only ones debating. Without further ado let’s get started.

Primarily, I would like to clear a misconception that would most likely arise during the course of this debate. The resolution is that there should be a legal age for using mobile phones. According to my perception, using here means owning, as there is no practical way to stop the use of smartphones in even a child’s life, but owning it can have harmful effects. Another way this resolution can be interpreted is that using means excessive using. Also, I would like to clarify that mobile phones are interpreted as smartphones.

First, we need to understand the power of smartphones. By giving your child such a powerful tool, we not only give them access to chat with their friends, send images and videos, but we also give them access to social media accounts, websites and much more. Now the CON might argue that that is what smartphones should be used for, but they undermine the risks. We’ve all heard horrific stories about children being groomed online, but there’s also the risk they could unknowingly rack up substantial bills by downloading apps or playing games. On average, children are getting their first smartphones around age 10. This could be very risky as children start to enter a very critical phase in their lives where distractions are possible and very likely. Many children carry phones along with them to their schools. Chatting with friends or playing games during school breaks, or even in the class, is increasing day by day. This results in children failing to pay attention in the class, missing out on important lessons, and consequently, being clueless about studies and examinations. According to a recent study that found the mere presence of a smartphone reduces a person’s ability to focus. In the study, undergraduates asked to leave their phones in another room did better on cognitive tests than those who were asked to silence their phones and leave them face down on their desk or in a bag. There are a lot of harmful effects from smartphones especially for children, as they are the most vulnerable because anyone can shape ormould how they think. Hence, there should be a legal age for using smartphones.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-06 01:43:11
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
Thank you for inviting me to this debate Kush. Best of luck. I'll go over my opponent's points and then mine.

Opponent's Points

1. My opponent brings up grooming on cell phones, and this is an issue, but banning cell phones for children wouldn't solve the issue. Child predators online don't only use resources found on phones, but use gaming. 1 The gaming industry is huge and has allowed a large amount of grooming to happen, from Minecraft to League of Legends. Unless we hope to ban internet access for children, we can't solve grooming, especially since children would probably spend more time on consoles and computers without a phone.

2. Pro brings up kids spending exuberant amounts of money on accident, but this is ridiculous. First, this would mean they have unlimited access to a parents debit or credit card, or it would mean the parent allowed it to be saved onto their phone. Either way, this is either on the fault of the parent, or on the agreement of the parent. The other issue is that, once again, phones aren't the only way to spend money. The 1st through 4th things that kids most likely spent their money on were all physical objects; books, sweets, Legos, and presents. 2 The 5th through 9th is Roblox, Fortnite, PlayStation, Xbox, and Pokémon. All of these either are consoles or have console/PC access to financial transactions. Once again, you'd have to ban internet to solve the issue.

3. My opponent brings up focus and performance in school, but this isn't justification for illegal ownership. We need to focus on utilizing technology to its fullest potential, not eliminating it. Smartphones have a ton of potential within the realm of education. They can be used as academic tools, educational opportunities, a way to make education fun, and a way to help students manage schedules and information from teachers. 3 We need to try and incorporate cell phone use in the classroom to provide the best educational opportunity we can. This would better education than banning cell phones.

My Case

1. I propose an alternative to the resolution that solves all my opponents issues and will solve an issue I will bring up that my opponent doesn't solve. I propose we introduce a mandatory class in schools that teach how to stay technologically healthy. This would include how to avoid sexual predators, save money, and avoid internet addiction. This alternative would better solve all the issues my opponent brings up because it addresses the root cause, misunderstanding. Instead of taking away one of the many portals kids have to the internet, we need to teach children how to better manage their time and actions. This would make kids more safe than a ban of smart phones.

2. The issue I have with the resolution is the attack on parenting rights. We have to respect that different parents want to raise their children in different ways, and while we can equip children with knowledge in schools, we shouldn't take away a parent's right to raise their child how they see fit, especially at no harm to the child. By taking away the right to parent, we then go on a slippery slope of the state telling parents how to parent their child in every aspect. What to feed them, how much screen time they can allow their child, what media they can show their child, etc. would be questions the state would answer rather than a parent. This degrades personal freedom, and we must find solutions that don't infringe on personal freedom.


Vote con because the resolution doesn't solve any of the proposed problems facing children, their are better alternatives, and we need to preserve the right of the individual.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-07 16:28:24
| Speak Round
KushKush (PRO)


My opponent is under the huge misconception that this resolution and the PRO stand for BANNING smartphones. We support legalizing an age for smartphone users.

Opponent’s Emphasis 

CON’s main emphasis and the basis of their argument so far has been the gaming industry. They also talk about utilizing technology to its fullest. I completely agree and that is the reason why every single public and private school in America now have laptops for usage. The schools have bought laptops and from time-to-time they involve it in the learning process. So, there is no absece of technology in a student's education. Again, neither the PRO nor the resolution promotes BANNING internet access for all students. We simply propose that smartphone should be given at only a particular age, but since some parents might be oblivious to the fact of what their children might use the smartphone for, it is better to present a legal age for it.

Introduction of New Aspects

  • Health Risks

It is a wide known fact that teenagers and tweens (ages 4-12) spend a lot of time on their smartphones. A study found that teenagers spend an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes ontheir phones, that is 51 hours and 14 minutes weekly. And tweens aren’t too far behind, as they spend 4 hours and 44 minutes daily, thus spending 33 hours and 8 minutes weekly. Children on social media may come in contact with cyberbullies who harass and bully them over the internet. Many children who have been cyberbullied may only admit their experience much later in life, when the mental damage has already been done. Social media may also induce depression and anxiety when the kids are not given the online attention they expect. Moreover, with children glued to the mobile phone during their free time, they don’t partake in physical activity and get fresh air. This puts them at risk for obesity and other illnesses, which can later develop into harmful diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.


Some of the health risks have been given and more will be too. My opponent also mentioned some sort of attack on the parenting rights. All this resolution proposes is to benefit the parents by helping their children. In fact, a study found that most of the parents REGRET giving smartphones to their children at such an early age. So, this resolution wasn’t out of the blue. This resolution was carefully crafted and it will stand because of its practicality.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-08 22:57:11
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
I will go over my opponent's case and then my case.

Opponent's Case

1. My opponent dropped sexual predators, so he agrees that he can't solve the issue.

2. My opponent dropped kids spending money on phones, so he agrees that he can't solve the issue.

3. 58% of public schools have access to laptops.1 Hoping to outfit the other 42% immediately will be an extremely expensive venture. Now, I know that not every student has access to a smartphone in the status quo, but by helping out only the students who need it, we can cut down on school costs by a lot. This can only be ensured by not banning smartphones for younger kids who could utilize it in their education. Utilizing technology in schools is expensive, so if we can cut down those costs by allowing students to use their own device, we could ensure that funding goes into other programs in schools.

4. Cyberbullying and social media are available on more than just smartphones. If you ban smartphones for everyone under 13, 12 year olds still have access and ownership rights to laptops, gaming consoles, and other internet connected devices. 90% of teens are involved in gaming, 2 including on computers and consoles. To simply try and solve all of the physical and mental effects that come with internet use by banning one way they can access it for certain ages is ridiculous. You can't solve these issues. 

My Case

1. My opponent doesn't address my alternative solution, so he agrees that it will solve the issue of sexual predators better, it will solve kids spending money on phones better, and it will solve education better. To continue with his new point, it will also solve these health issues better. To refresh your memory, my alternative was that, instead of banning smartphone ownership for younger ages, we should institute a technological health class in schools. This would teach kids how to avoid sexual predators, be fiscally responsible, and utilize their time wisely on technology. Part of that includes not spending so much time on devices and how to best navigate social media. These issues won't go away by simply banning it until children get older, because then you just delay these issue, as well as, you don't teach kids solutions. We need to be focusing on equipping children with the tools necessary to best succeed technologically, not just banning it until they hit a certain age and just hope they figure it out.

2. My opponent claims a study that parents regret giving their children devices. I did not see this study in his sources, but even if it is there, he misses my point. My point was that parents should be making these decisions for their children, not the state. We need to allow parents to raise their kids how they best see fit, with as little involvement as possible. Even if parents regret their decision to give their child a phone, they learn from that and become better parents on different decisions related to raising their kids. Parents need to do more than work through state mandates, they need to parent their kid.


My opponent dropped so much of what I said, as well as me continuing to prove that the resolution is flawed, that a con vote is the only way to proceed.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-09 08:45:31
| Speak Round
KushKush (PRO)

Firstly, I would like to point out the fact that CON misinformed all of uswhen saying that only 58% of the public schools have laptops at their disposal. I used the same source as CON and I found out that 97% percent of the public schools have instructional computers and/or laptops.So as far as utilizing technology goes, almost every school in America utilizes it to its fullest.

My opponent also brought up how teens and tweens would just switchto their online accounts on laptops or computers, but according to a study conducted by PewResearch Centre, teens say, “Fully 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online 'almost constantly.” Also, a research conducted by Influence Central states, “While 42 percent of kids accessed the Internet via their own laptop or tablet four years ago.” So, if we look at this situation statistically,53% of children would not be able to access social media at the age of 13 or less.I consider that to be a remarkable achievement.

Children first receive their own cellphone at the age of 10.3 years. And the fascinating thing I found when reading a survey was that40% of the parents buy phones so that they can enjoy peace and quiet. 

My opponent also said that this resolution, if employed, would land a huge blow to the gaming industry. But, only 26% of children aged between 8-12 play video games. Apart from that, the most populargames played areFortnite, PUBG, and various other battleroyale games. But, not only does this have academic risks, but health risks as well. A study states, “Scientific research has shown time and again that children learn from what they see on a screen. If they see violence being rewarded, they are going to learn that being aggressive is a good way to get what they want, and this belief can have long term effects on children’s behavior…... Children can learn that violence is an appropriate way to solve conflicts, and evidence shows that playing violent video games has the potential to increase aggression in some youth.” Now I'm not saying that the gaming industry won’t have to go through somewhat of a rough time, but according to me, most parents and the society care way more about their children, the future of this world, then they care about thegaming companies.Also, in the same study it states, “As children are continually exposed to violence in video games, they can become desensitized to it over time.” A typical example can be the present. The whole world knows and is watching the George Floyd protests and is watching the Black Lives Matter movement gather speed. Personally, this was horrifying for me to watch. There isn’t any phrase or a word that can describe the situation, and kids especially between the ages of 8-12 can becomedesensitized. Now I know this may seem like I am taking this too far, but no, this actually goes on.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-12 21:23:23
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
I will go over my opponents points and my points.

Opponent's Case

1. My point about gaming wasn't saying the gaming industry would die if we banned phones for younger ages, my point was that sexual predators exist on online gaming platforms, including Minecraft and Fortnite. You can even bring up the health risks of violent video games, but you don't solve that issue because young children will still have access to gaming consoles or computers, and citing your own statistic where you say "40% of the parents buy phones so that they can enjoy peace and quiet", we can probably assume those 40% of parents will buy their children the newest console, laptop, or other smart device that will have the same sexual predator threat as any online app. Not only will it have those issues, but your plan would probably lead to a direct increase in the amount of violent video games played.

2. This also ties into the gaming, but was a separate answer to the point my opponent made towards the beginning of the argument. This whole point was that children would still spend money on online sources, even if there was no smartphones. With the creation of V-bucks and other pay-to-win formats in gaming, kids will always try to spend their parents money on gaming. This problem isn't solely with smartphones, but with internet.

3. While my opponent is right about 97% of schools having instructional computers, this was intentionally separate from carted laptops. Instructional computers are used only for a computer class that teaches computer basics, while carted laptops can be moved from classroom to classroom being used in any class. The 97% computer statistic represents how many schools have a computer class, not how many are utilizing technology to the fullest. My 58% does a better job of that, because it shows how many schools have the ability to bring laptops into a math, reading, science, etc. class. Now fixing this misunderstanding of the statistic, we then should work with a combined approach, allowing students with no smartphone to use laptops and other children to use their smartphone. This would save school districts money while they transition to more digital classrooms as well as showing students educational opportunities on their phone.

4. My opponent believes this resolution will get 53% of children off of social media, but this is failing to account for lifestyle changes. He believes that all of the children who currently use smartphones will just leave a vacuum where they used to put social media. He believes that this time will be spent frolicking outside, but realistically, the youth would then just shift to computers, gaming consoles, and any other smart device they could access social media on. His 53% might be 1% of children actually getting off of social media. Kids would just shift their attention to online gaming (which my opponent has outlined why that was bad) or social media off of a computer.

My Case

1. My opponent has still failed to address my alternative. As a better plan, we should focus on creating a class in schools that teaches students how to best be digitally responsible. This will ensure that we can have a safer and more responsible youth when they access smartphones, gaming consoles, computers, or any platform to have internet access. This solves all of the issues my opponent has brought up, as well as my issue with the resolution.

2. My opponent dropped parenting rights, so admits that the resolution infringes on the rights of parents to raise their children.


Voting con is the only possible option because con has produced a superior alternative to the resolution that actually solves, issues related to the resolution that haven't been rectified, and prove that pro can't solve any of the issues they have brought up. Con solves all issues while pro solves none. Vote con!

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-14 04:31:14
| Speak Round
KushKush (PRO)

My opponent said, ‘we can probably assume...’ I humbly request my opponent to purely debate based on facts and leave assumptions out of this. And my opponent also said that my plan would probably increase the video game usage of kids. I beg to differ because parents won’t be willing to spend hundreds of dollars to buy consoles.

Also, my opponent has repeatedly mentioned only one solution to this whole situation, digital responsibility classes. But my opponent doesn’t understand that one of themost harmful effects, especially teens, is social media. And even if the teachers, no matter how effectively convey the point of how disastrous social media can be, the teens have become addicted to social media and gaming and there is absolutely no way that they are going to ready to quit all of that. Hence, this is the time to take drastic actions to save the future of our world.

In this argument I will mostly be focusing on one of the major disastrous effects of smartphones for kids, radiation. No matter how many flaws my opponent points out in the resolution, this effect trumps all of them because it is so drastic that initializing a legal age for smartphones is the only door open to us now. Cell phones emit radiation. It is a particular type of radiation called non-ionizing radiation – basically meaning that it doesn’t remove electrons from atoms, although it can slightly alter the state of them, for example when microwave radiation agitates them causing them to heat up. For almost as long as this technology has been available, experts have been conducting studies to quantify the effect this non-ionizing radiation has on the human body. The big fear is brain tumors and various forms of cancer, although there have been recent studies in a number of other non-lethal health issues which may be linked, including sleep deprivation, decreased sperm count and motility and behavioral changes in brain activity.

This image clearly shows the drastic effects of smartphones can have on kids and teens. Like I said before, this issue clearly trumps all of the flaws mentioned by CON.


I think that I have provided ample of evidence and facts to convey that this resolution stands because of its utmost importance.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-18 01:47:08
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
Opponent's Case

1. Facts mean nothing if my opponent denies me as a debater or a judge the right to logically interpret the facts. If 40% of parents buy cell phones to enjoy "peace and quiet", then why is it so illogical to assume they'd purchase a different internet connecting device for the same reason upon the banning of cell phones for their children? Does their wish for peace and quiet magically go away? My opponent doesn't want logic to cast a cold look upon his facts because it proves my point. Parents, especially those 40%, are going to buy their children consoles or PCs as a substitute. This still puts children in danger of predators or spending their parents money. My opponent can't solve that as long as parents will logically find internet connected alternatives to educate their kids.

2. My opponent dropped, and therefore agrees, that allowing phones in the classroom (which requires children to have access) we can best help education and school budgets.

3. My opponent dropped, and supported, the idea that kids are addicted to social media. By supporting that point, my opponent practically defends the idea that children will find access to social media through alternatives that, based on previous statistics by my opponent, parents will buy. 

4. Radiation was brought up out of nowhere, and needs to be addressed now. Firstly, my opponent has a graphic for his radiation point with nothing but where the study was done, so Pro wants to make us do the work to find his study. I don't think it should count if he doesn't give us access to go see it, but even if you don't buy that judge, I'll disprove my opponent's study. See, my opponent's graphic is misleading because you see it and panic at the idea of small children absorbing radiation into their brain, but there is no real risk here. Cancer is unproven because the radiation is non-ionized, which doesn't cause cancer in anybody, including children.1 On top of this studying disproving it, we can look at the dates. The study the National Cancer Institute sites is from 2004-2008. This is more recent and must be preferred over my opponent's study from 1992. So now let us focus on the other issues my opponent listed off. Firstly, these are unfounded. His own graphic just brought up the fear of tumors (which I disproved with more recent studies) and doesn't list of any of his other issues he brings up. If we allow unfounded and unproven "facts" then debate becomes about who can tell the biggest story. Don't buy his radiation point, the radiation is safe and isn't a risk.

My Case

1. My opponent said that my alternative fails because teens are addicted to social media, but this is exactly why we need digital responsibility classes. We can't separate teens from social media because, even if we ban them from smartphones, parents searching for peace and quiet will buy them consoles or laptops and they'll still have access. If we can't separate them from what's dangerous, then we need to teach them how to best deal with the situation. By teaching kids how to avoid sexual predators, avoid cyberbullying, avoid expensive mistakes, stay physically healthy while still using social media, and an assortment of other things to best equip a digital generation for their immersion into the technological era. Pro admits we can't separate teens from social media, so why not teach them how to best handle it?

2. My opponent dropped, and therefore agrees that the resolution infringes on the rights of the parent to raise their child.


My opponent has no point why we need the resolution that isn't disproven, shown to be unsolvable from the resolution, or better solved with my alternative. Vote Con for a successful alternative that doesn't infringe on parenting rights and actually solves my opponents concerns.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-20 05:40:17
| Speak Round

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Previous Judgments

2020-06-20 10:20:53
DillonCrawfordJudge: DillonCrawford
Win awarded to: Kush
I think you are better
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2020-06-20 23:30:25
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Bugsy460
Firstly I need to point out that CON doesn't carry any significant BOP in this debate - by which I mean, to win this debate PRO needs to convince us that there should be a legal age for using a mobile phone. CON only has to poke enough holes in PRO's case to throw doubt on it.
Most of PRO's case against cell phones being used by children actually related to their access to the internet. It was smart, albeit a little shady to redefine "Mobile Phone" as exclusively "Smart Phones" for this reason, but ultimately it was a flawed case. CON quite correctly pointed out that the harms PRO cites are more related to the Internet, rather than the means of accessing the internet. I have no choice but to seriously downgrade PRO's harms of cyber bullying, grooming, misc health risks and the lack of focus during school.
I'm awarding minimal points for some of the health risks and the lack of focus, because these these ARE valid concerns, but PRO, to score with these you really needed to hammer home the fact that the cell phone's portability makes these a much higher risk than a laptop. As a judge, I can't be expected to draw that conclusion myself. If it's any consolation, unless you did a massive switch of direction, it probably wouldn't have been enough anyway.
Finally, in the last round, PRO starts to correct the ship with some significant focus on radiation effects of phones of kids. This argument is directly related to cellphone use rather than internet use - much better.
However there are multiple problems with this: not only is he introducing new evidence in the last round, (big no-no) but his argument basically boils down to a scary picture with not even a claim of correlation, and some conjecture about things we are worried about. By this stage, PRO would have basically needed to have given me a iron-clad claim that this radiation definitely causes fatal cancer.. which of course he can't do.
It's too little, too late.

As I said earlier, CON didn't actually have to convince me of anything to win this debate, all he had to do was neg PRO's points, and he did this with ease.
CON did suggest some alternative options to address some of PRO's concerns - I found these to be adequate - if the debate was around the dangers of easy internet access for youngsters, he probably would have had to do a little more. But it wasn't, and he didn't.
There was a very nice catch from CON on the debate over 58% vs 97%. Well handled by both teams. That little back and forth was easily the highlight of the debate for me.

In the end, an easy win for CON.

Firstly and sincerely - good job by both sides. I've done this debate a couple of times and it's not an easy one - especially for PRO.

PRO - I have a few things for you:
1. Really be clear with those definitions. You started off by addressing the resolution - I like this, BUT you redefined it in a really weird way. CON would have been quite within his rights to call you out on this, as you reframed it significantly away from the original point. You said it wasn't "Mobile Phones" - it was Smart Phones, and you said it wasn't "using" them, it was "owning" them. Both of these significantly alter the resolution, but worse than that, they make your already difficult case, even harder.
The one word you SHOULD have defined was, "age". Throughout the debate I was left unsure exactly how old we were talking. There were several ages mentioned and it really needed to be defined.

2. The structure in this debate was awful. You introduced new arguments throughout almost every round - including the last one. It was a limited character debate, so I can certainly cut you SOME slack for that, but you really need to practice framing your whole debate from the first round. Have a good think about your two or three points, think about the potential counter points and how much space you'll have to deal with each of these. New arguments need to be introduced by the second round AT THE LATEST. Otherwise it looks like you're scrambling and just grasping at straws.

3. Don't be afraid to listen to your opponent. CON's point that you were focused on harms not unique to the cell phone was OBVIOUSLY true. It was indefensible. Either drop it entirely, or, what's better, try to slide to the side and hope nobody notices. An example of this would have been for you to acknowledge that the internet is the harm, but point out the mobile phone is what makes the internet so EASY to access. It's not a great argument, but it shifts the focus away from your bad direction and back to something more related to the resolution.

On the positives, I liked your calling him out on his source with the 97% thing. It's too bad that he was right, or that you ran out of time to combat his last comment on that issue - but I thought you did a good job with that point anyway. There are plenty of opponents where you would have got away with that one.

I probably don't have as much for you here - you argued your side as well as you needed to. As already stated, there were a couple of points you needed to address, and you handled those very well. Your counter points didn't really land for me - it might be worth remembering that not everyone on the internet is a libertarian - personally I'd have needed a little more fleshing out of exactly WHY parents should have essentially free reign to raise their kids however they want. PRO's obvious angle was always going to be that unmitigated cell phone use was going to be harmful to the child, so therefore you'd need to either explain why we should let Parents make decisions that might be harmful to their children, or else just drop that point and focus on the fact that there's no harm to the kids. If there's no harm to the kids, then the Parental rights thing is irrelevant, and if there IS harm to he kids, then the Parental rights thing is also irrelevant.

The other thing that kind of bugged me as a judge, was when you continually used the phrase, "he dropped this point so he agrees with it. "
The issue of dropping points is really nuanced - especially in a limited character debate. Most savvy judges are aware that one common tactic is to over load your opponent with points so that they don't have space to address them all. That's because in High School, a dropped point is almost automatically a loss.
But in a real debate a point can easily go without comment if the person making that point feels that it has been made soundly enough. It's definitely risky, but there's a point where both sides have made their respective comments on that issue, and ultimately it's more efficient to let the point lay. Someone has to get the last word, and that person doesn't automatically win.
There were many times where you phrased this well and effectively - but there were also times where, as a judge, it felt like you were maybe pushing it a little too far. In those cases it would have been fine to draw my attention to the fact that the point had been dropped - but claiming that this means PRO has reversed his position on the subject is kind of you putting words in his mouth.

On the positives for you, again, the way you handled the conflict over the source material was excellent. You made it really clear, and without sounding condescending - which is always a trap that I personally fall into!

Nice job both of you!
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