Since Apple introduced the iPhone to the world to the world, parents have been faced with one of the most difficult decisions of their generation: When should I get my child a smartphone? Here are some ways to help you determine if your child is ready for their own smartphone.
Begin by starting your child off with a basic mobile device without internet access. These phones can only send text messages or place phone calls, and they are great for parents who want to stay in touch with their children without giving them unlimited access to the internet.
If you do decide to get your child a basic cellphone, consider having them sign a usage contract so they know and understand the rules of the phone. Some parents make their children turn their phones in at a certain time of night to ensure a good night’s rest, and others tell their kids that they will be monitoring their text messages and phone calls. The idea behind a contract is to maintain a level of control while still allowing your child some independence. If your child can follow the rules, they may be ready for a smartphone.
Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on kids and technology, gives the following tips to determine your child’s maturity level and to help you decide if your child is ready for a smartphone.
Are they responsible with their belongings?
Will they follow the rules of phone use?
Would having easy access to friends benefit them?
Do kids need to be in touch for safety reasons?
If you start your child out slowly and define clear rules, you can better prepare them — and yourself — for all that a smartphone brings. And remember, just because your child’s friends have smartphones, doesn’t mean your child is ready for their own.