But you know what? My kids aren't babied. My oldest and I just went to a two-day rifle shooting clinic, and the two oldest have knives of their own that are very sharp and that they can use whenever they want.
They hike in the woods by our house, unsupervised, and they ride horses and swim. They climb trees. They camp in a tent in the woods by the house.
As for their peers? Those poor kids have never even touched a sharp knife, much less been given one of their own. My kids are well aware that they're allowed to take a lot more risks than their peers, and that they're given more responsibility for their own safety.
They're not babied. Rather, the kids who stay indoors on a gadget are the ones who are babied and stunted. They're the ones whose parents have infantilized them.
A kid doesn't "deserve" a smartphone. What they deserve is a childhood. They deserve to be bored for long stretches and to have to make up their own games and stuff to do. They deserve the privacy of their own thoughts, and to not be tethered to a gadget that they can't put down. They deserve flesh-and-blood relationships, instead of jerky pixels and audio. They deserve a life, and not just an existence.
1. No phones at dinner EVER
2. No electronics (of any kind) except low music on school nights without explicit approval or when the device is being used specifically for school work
3. Free reign on weekend electronics outside of prior commitments and all chores are done
Weekends roll around and you would think they would be glued to the electronics based on everything people post here, but usually it ends up being a last resort. They would much prefer to go play soccer with friends, practice their artwork, go shooting or give each other facials.
I suspect you use the knife example as an analogy. My daughter has a hatchet. It scares the heck out of me. I don't let her use it when I am not around or children other than our own are with her. But she loves it, and I have attempted to teach her correct and safe usage.
Technology can be as dangerous as a "sharp knife." Being given safe and monitored access to it and becoming familiar and comfortable with it will likely result in a more positive and healthy experience with it when unfettered access is suddenly thrust upon them.