Deciding when your child is ready for a phone is a personal decision that depends on a variety of factors, such as age, maturity level, and need for a phone. Children start using cell phones at an early age, it’s fairly common to see toddlers playing on iPhones. There are benefits to children using cell phones but there are a few things parents should consider.
Is My Child Ready for a Cell Phone?
4 Questions to consider before giving your child their own phone.
How Responsible is My Child?
Your child should demonstrate a sense of responsibility before getting a cell phone. They should be able to keep track of their belongings, follow rules, and understand the consequences of their actions.
Why Does My Child Need a Cell Phone?
If your child needs to stay in touch with you or other family members for safety reasons, such as walking home from school or participating in after-school activities, a cell phone can be a useful tool.
What Kind of Device Should I Give My Child?
Maybe your child isn’t ready for the responsibility of a phone but needs to be able to communicate with you when away from home. Consider getting your child a kid-friendly smartwatch. There are also phones designed for kids that have limited features and more advanced parental controls.
What Phone Rules Will We Establish for Cell Phone Use?
Before you give your child a cell phone set family rules for cell phone use. It’s important to set boundaries for how much time kids spend on cell phones, what apps they can use, and specified downtime. Establishing clear guidelines will help kids develop healthy cell phone habits.
Phone Rules for Kids
When you decide to get your child a phone set clear guidelines before giving them the device. These are a few rules you may want to consider:
Parents Have Access
Let the child know that you will maintain access to their passwords and will be monitoring their activity. Older children may find this to be a violation of their privacy but keeping kids safe is a parent’s number one priority and online predators are a real threat. Consider using a parental monitoring app to keep an eye on worrisome behavior.
Establish a Screen Time Limit
Setting screen time limits is a good practice for kids and adults. It’s important to prioritize downtime from devices to build healthy habits.
Discuss Responsibilities and Consequences
Remind the child that a phone is not a financial investment and they are responsible for the care of the said phone. Discuss what will happen if the phone is lost or broken. Who will pay for the repair or replacement?
Confirm Which Apps Are Permitted
Discuss which apps your child can download on their device. Better yet determine if your child will have access to download content without parental approval.