For the Love of Cellphones: Are There Any Reasons Teens Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Can Benefit from a Cellphone?

Chances are your child who is blind or visually impaired is already asking for a cellphone. Somehow the tablets and computers are not enough to quench their desire for technology! As a parent, I try to limit my children’s screen time, yet I know technology plays a significant role in the social lives of youth and adults. Each family has to decide if and when the right time is to introduce a cellphone, as there are certainly safety and responsibility issues that must be addressed. It’s wise, however, to consider if and when the benefits of a visually impaired teen owning a personal cellphone outweigh the risks.

teen using cellphone

Reasons for Buying Your Visually Impaired Teen a Cellphone

If you believe your teen is ready for the responsibility, here are a few reasons to consider buying a teen who is visually impaired a phone.

  1. A personal cellphone offers increased independence with planning routes and public transportation as well as offers your child a way to call a parent, friend, or taxi if lost or caught in poor weather.

  2. The cellphone is the perfect motivator to get them do any chore and keep up their grades!

  3. You and your child can communicate using the phone.

  4. Novels and even textbooks can be accessed using the phone.

  5. Your child can use specialized apps, including those for identifying money and identifying colors.

  6. Your child can teach you the latest features of the phone!

  7. Your child can use the phone as an alarm clock and to manage their own calendar of appointments, chores, and classroom deadlines.

  8. Your child can use the phone to annoy you as she learns to take selfies like other teens!

  9. Your child can pair the phone with other technology he is using to be more efficient.

  10. Your child can connect with peers using social media.

  11. Most smartphones come with the necessary accessibility options built into phone; it’s wise for your child to master accessible phone use before becoming an independent adult.

The decision of if/when to allow your teen to purchase or own a cellphone is a difficult and personal one. What have you decided and what would you add to the conversation?

Additional Technology Resources

Students with Visual Impairments Using Technology

Cellphones, Tablets, and Other Mobile Technology for Users with Visual Impairments

AFB’s AccessWorld Technology Magazine