Every parent must make the decision at some point if and when to give their child a phone. It can be a difficult decision to make, but it’s important to consider a few things before you hand your little one their first smartphone. Understanding the age-appropriate guidelines for children and phones can help ensure that your child is safe and responsible while using his or her device.
Age Appropriate Guidelines
Experts often recommend that parents wait until their child is in middle school—around 11 or 12 years old—before giving them access to a smartphone. This recommendation is based on the idea that by this age, most children have developed enough maturity and responsibility to manage their own device properly. Before this age, however, a basic cell phone with limited features can be appropriate for emergencies or for keeping in touch with family members like grandparents.
What To Consider Before Giving Your Child A Phone
When considering whether or not it’s time for your child to get a phone, there are several factors that should be taken into account. First of all, does your child demonstrate maturity and responsibility in other aspects of life? If so, he or she may be ready for the responsibility of owning their own device.
Secondly, will your child need access to a phone while away from home? If they will be spending much unsupervised time outside of your home environment—e.g., walking home from school—a phone could come in handy as an emergency line of communication. Finally, how do you feel about allowing them access to social media platforms? This is an important discussion to have before handing over the device so that you can discuss expectations ahead of time.
Giving your child their first phone can be both exciting and scary at the same time! As long as you take into consideration the proper age-appropriate guidelines along with any special considerations surrounding responsibility and safety for your individual situation, you should feel confident about making an informed decision when it comes time for your little one to get his or her first device! From there, it’s all about teaching good digital habits so that they use their device responsibly as they grow up.