Published on Nov 21, 2021
What's the Right Age for Parents to get their Kids a Cell Phone?
There was a time when parents wondered if they should get their kids a cellphone. Nowadays, most parents wonder when is the right time to provide cellphones for their little ones. “At what age should you buy a cell phone for your kid?” is one of the decisions you need to take based on different factors.
Since cellphone usages among teenagers have surged over the past year, the statistic of cellphone usages among teenagers is something that most parents are worried about.
There are many adverse effects of cellphone in children’s lives, and it affects kids’ mental and physical health; this is why parents are skeptical about providing mobile phones for their kids.
Keeping the adverse effects of cellphone aside, you cannot deny that cellphone has been a blessing for human beings. You can know where your loved ones are, what they are doing, if they are safe or not with the help of a cellphone.
Thereby, parents are facing the dilemma of deciding the right age for giving cellphones to young ones. But, of course, there are good and bad sides to every action you take, to every decision you make, and it’s up to you how much you give attention to which side.
How Common are Cell Phones Among Children?
The use of mobile devices has climbed the stairs so fast in the past few years. It’s like a basic need of people besides proper food and shelters. Everyone has a phone in their pocket, and they tend to use them almost at any hour of the day. We live in a world full of technology; every transaction and purchase is done online these days. But, unfortunately, children understand and grasp it better than any parents do.
Common Sense Media reports show that almost one in five eight-year-olds have a smartphone. The rate of children owning a cell phone has doubled in the past few years. A new study shows that this rate increases when a child is 13-14 years old. The study also shows the habits of using mobile devices vary by gender.
When’s The Best Time To Give Your Child a Phone?
It is surprisingly controversial for modern-day parents to determine the proper age and time to allow kids to own cell phones. Age is just another factor to be considered among many. Each individual has a specific level of sense of responsibility, maturity, necessity that you should focus on. You have to analyze to know when your child is capable of having a phone of his own.
The circumstance of the household is one of the major factors to decide what is the best time to buy a phone for your kids. Certain families grant their children to use a cell phone when they start doing more things independently like traveling, staying outside of the home, going to school on their own, etc. It varies according to family concerns and situations. Nobody would give a cell phone to their 4 or 5 years old kid who is entirely dependent on their parents for most of their chores.
It’s Not Just About Age
Before buying them a phone, you must guide them about the pros and cons of having a phone. Giving your kids a cellphone means giving your kids access to the internet world. And not to forget about contents that you can find on the internet.
Before giving your kids a cellphone, you need to teach them proper online etiquette. And, grow the sense of trust, show them that they are trustable; that’s why you are giving them mobile devices in the first place. Then, if anything shows up, let them know that they can share anything with you.
Things That You Need To Consider Before Giving a SmartPhone
As parents, you should consider the following issues before giving your kids a smartphone:
- How does your child take care of expensive things? Do they take extra care of something if you tell them it’s important?
- Do they understand their actions will have consequences? How does your child understand technologies?
- How responsible are they? Do they spend most of the time on games on a computer? How well can they limit themselves to screen time?
- Is your child pushing you to buy them a phone, or is there a genuine need for it?
- How well can they differentiate between the internet has a lot to offer, but there is a limit to age groups according to online content? Are they clear about the safety issues?
- If there is a need, you should focus on what functionality is the need at the time? Simple calling and texting is what they need, or do they need a smartphone with much more functionalities?
The thing is, you can’t give your kids a phone just because they are over 16 years old. It would be best if you gave them a phone because you think they can handle it well. Providing a phone to an immature kid who is 16 years old will surely not do any good to the family.
Benefits of Making Well-Balanced Decision
After considering the issues mentioned above, you should look at the benefits of making a well-balanced decision about what is suitable for your child.
- Giving your child a phone will help him to communicate with you in emergencies. They will be able to reach you as soon as they want.
- Opportunity for your child to socialize with their friends and family. Especially cellphone has made it easy to stay in contact with long distanced friends and relatives.
- As I mentioned above, providing smartphones means giving access to the internet world. The internet can help your child in gaining immediate personal as well as academic growth. They can make positive use of the internet to find answers to their questions, maybe a school work or web research.
- Cellphones can also be used for entertainment purposes. One can watch funny or insights-gaining videos on youtube, read articles, and many more.
Right Age for Providing Cellphone to Your Kids
Here are the listings of the findings which you can consider while answering the question of what is the right age for providing a cellphone to your kids:
Under the age of 4
A bold No.
Age between 4 to 6
Children use mobile phones mainly for playing mobile games at this age, causing adverse effects on their health. In addition, using smartphones at such an age can hamper the growth of the brain. At this age, the brain is still developing, and using a smartphone can harm brain development and social skills.
Ages 7 to 9
A child is still in its serious development phase during the age of 7 to 9. They understand a lot, are curious about lots of stuff at this age, and giving the phone to them may have serious consequences. Hence, it’s better not to give mobile phones to your 7 to 9 years old.
Ages 10 to 12
At this age, you can allow your kid to use phones by setting some limits. You should not give access to the internet on your child’s mobile at this age. You can give them a cell phone so that they can call or text you whenever they are away from you. It would be best if you limit additional features on your kid’s device, which they are likely to misuse.
Over 12 - Teens
It’s still not recommended for a child to own a phone at such an age. But you can give them the old phones or check screen time limits on their phone regularly. When it comes to internet usage, the later, the better, expert says. It is advised to eliminate the usage of the internet till they reach at least 16. Because they are still growing, and this phase is crucial. Teens can be influenced or negatively impacted if they see things they should not have.
Setting up Parental Controls
If you plan to get your kids a phone but are still worried about their safety, you should set parental controls apps on their devices. Parental control apps provide you a complete picture of what your kids are doing on their devices. With these apps, you can view their total screen time, set some rules on cell phone usage, restrict apps on their devices, and many more.
Accessing the internet makes your child vulnerable to cyberbullying and many influences, so using parental controls and spy apps helps you know about your child’s well-being. You can limit contents that your children can access. This way, you ensure safety for your children, online and offline.
You can use parental control and spy apps like fenced.ai, bark, Qustodio, mSpy, iKeyMonitor, KidsGuard Pro, MobiStealth, etc., to track your kid’s device activities.
Tips For Parents To Finding A Solution
- Please don’t buy your kid a cell phone because his friends have one. If your child is independent and is involved in extracurricular activities besides school, you can give a thought to buying a phone. They will need it in times of emergencies or to know about their whereabouts.
- For children who are not mature enough to handle their responsibility, it is better not to give them a cell phone unless they can take care of their cellphone.
- If you don’t trust your child enough, but it is necessary to give them a phone, then you can consider setting up some parental control apps.
- Talk to your kids about the dangers of the online world and the use of social media. Talk to them about the anxiety they can face due to sexting and pornographic content, the violence they can face on the digital media. You should make sure the use of a phone doesn’t affect their developing brains.
- If you decide to give him a cell phone, you can limit his phone usage time. You can set up parental controls to keep an eye on your child’s safety. It’s better to read their behavior while using the phone. When you try to read the text messages, does he flip the phone or hide it from you.
What is the right age is arbitrary and depends on the individual child. It can be pretty tricky to tell the exact age you can provide a mobile phone for your kids. The age that parents could provide a cell phone to their child is 14, with minimalistic features. Focusing upon maturity levels, children’s health, and earlier discussed issues; you can conclude your decision of what age giving your child a cell phone is best.