Most parents faced with this question today were in their late teens when they received their first cellphone. Consequently, it may be difficult to determine when is the best time to purchase or hand down a cellphone to their own child. I hope this primer will help you get closer to a decision on this topic.
Is there a perfect age when it’s okay for parents to give their child a cellphone? There is no hard and fast answer, however a 2010 Kaiser Foundation survey says that 85% of those aged 14 to 17, 69% of 11-14 year olds, and 31% of 8-10 year olds have cellphones. A 2014 FOSI survey shows that no dramatic stats change had place through years.
You’ll certainly know when your child thinks they are ready for a cellphone. They’re sure to put on the pressure and lobby like crazy for their own device. But are they ready, really? Of course, every child matures at a different age, so the answer may be highly individualized. It always depends on the following factors:
1. Maturity of the child: Does your child have the discipline and maturity to use a cellphone responsibly? You can always give it a trial run, communicating to your child the number of texts they may use (if any), and how many minutes are allowed – set up Parental Control Software to monitor your child on the 1st phone during a trial run and know how it goes. If your child passes the trial period and followed through with the rules of phone use that you set, then perhaps they are mature enough to have their own cellphone.
2. Safety: Some children take public transportation to and from school. In these instances, iPhone and Android phone may be a good idea just in case they run into trouble and must call you. However, if your child is still pretty much attached to you at the hip, with pick-ups and drop-offs at school and extracurricular activities chauffeured by you, then they likely do not need a cellphone purely for “safety” reasons. They desire a phone more for social reasons.
3. Smartphone or basic? Younger children may not need or even care about having a smartphone with all the bells and whistles. They may simply just want a way to stay in touch with their friends after school, or to call you. Once kids hit middle age and high school, however are they more likely to desire a smartphone. It’s at this age where much of their social life is online. In addition, many teachers today assign homework and other scholastic assignments via smartphones, presuming all their students have access to one.
4. My child wants a smartphone, but it’s too much freedom – what should I do? Consider what your primary concerns are with your child having a smartphone. It’s understandable to have some reservations about what kind of apps your kid might download. Will a smartphone distract them in class or at home when they should be doing homework? Do they simply want a means to stay in touch with their friends to know what they’re up to? And if the latter is the case, will they freely post their own location, leaving themselves vulnerable to online predators who may seek them out in real life? Most of these concerns can be alleviated with parental control software.
5. Expense: Adding an additional line, or another data plan can be expensive. Do a bit of research and find a provider who may cut a deal on a family rate. And word to the wise – unlimited texts are a parent’s best friend!
I hope that this article has given you food for thought in terms of the right moment to introduce a personal cell phone in your child’s life. Familoop is committed to parental control software across all devices, including iOS and Android cellphones – consider Familoop Safeguard trial to protect your kids effectively on their 1st cellphones and succeed in parenting.