The downward age creep of kids getting their own smartphones is changing from 12 to 10 years old and some children’s smartphone ownership starts in second grade and as young as 7. Internet safety experts and parents across the United States are nervous about this trend and feel that the longer you wait to give your child a smartphone, the better. Although no two kids are the same, many experts have said that between the ages of 12 and 14 are more ideal age spans for kids to get their first smartphone, but the final decision is up to you.
Holding off on getting your child a smartphone might be ideal because it will:
- Reduce the exposure children may experience with online bullies.
- Reduce the addictive distractions that comes with a smartphone.
- Reduce other issues like sexting and child predators.
While the three reasons above are enough to make you wait until your child is 30 before you get them a phone, there are some advantages of having your children own a smartphone of their own.
- The GPS system in their smartphone will help them should they ever get lost.
- It will teach them responsibility for owning an expensive piece of technology.
- The texting and calling features will improve your communication with them when they are away from home – at school, summer camp, or friends’ homes.
- It will help them with their homework. Many schools use Blackboard, and there are mobile apps that allow your child to pull up classes online. You can add in apps for dictionaries and calculators, flashcards, learning games, and reading apps like Kindle and Nook, plus the ability to surf the web. Then your child’s smartphone really does become a helpful homework tool.
Handing over a smartphone to your child is really up to you and the maturity level of your child. If they can handle the responsibility, great. If not, then you might wait another year or two. When you do decide to give them a smartphone, remember to enable the parental controls and restriction access on their device. This will make certain that they will not be able to gain access to any adult content, allows you to monitor their texting, disable apps at certain times of the day, and even shut off the smartphone remotely. Check with your phone provider to learn more about the controls available on your phone.
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