FaceBook Pixel
Mobile menu

How to decide if your child is ready for a smartphone

Cell phones have transformed the way that the world communicates, allowing people to stay in touch anytime and anywhere. At some point, parents will be faced with the decision of whether or not to let their child have a cell phone. Deciding whether or not a child should have a cell phone includes more than taking into account their age. While there are definite benefits to allowing a child to have a cell phone, there can also be downsides. Parents will need to determine if the potential benefits of their child having a phone will outweigh any potential negatives.

Benefits of Giving Your Child a Cell Phone

You always want your children to be safe and oftentimes parents feel safer when their child has a cellphone as they know they can get a hold of their child at any time. Not only can you call or text your child to find out where they are, you can also inform your children of your plans, when they need to be home, and more. Furthermore, in the case of an emergency, a child with a cell phone will be able to call for help immediately instead of having to find a phone. Since the early 2000s, the number of children with cell phones has more than doubled and many kids ages eight and even below now own phones. Along with the benefits of allowing your child to have a phone, there are some potential downsides.

Potential Downsides To Children Having Cell Phones

Having a cell phone can affect a child's sleep and ultimately their health. Mounting evidence suggests that children who use cell phones, especially those who text, may have disrupted sleep patterns. Teens that own cell phones will often keep their phones right by their bed in case they get a message. Sleep is important for good health, especially in growing children. If you do allow your child to have a phone, it is important to set some rules to ensure that your child still gets a good night's sleep.

Phones can be dangerous. Texting while driving, for instance, is one of the most distracting and dangerous things that a driver can do. If your child has a phone, it is important to talk to them about the risks of texting or talking on the phone while driving. Kids often think they are invincible and studies have shown that more than half of teens between the ages of sixteen and seventeen have texted while driving. Educate children on the risks of phone use in the car and follow up often to make sure they truly understand the dangers.

These days, most people who have cell phones, have smartphones. This means that phones not only allow your child to communicate through talk and text. Smartphones open your child up to videos, movies, social media, games, and more. It is important to weigh whether your not your child should have access to all of these things. While social interaction is good for kids, social media can open children up to bullying and other issues. Phones with all of these features can also disrupt a child's communication.

So, Is Your Child Ready?

Whether or not your child is ready to own a phone goes beyond simply their age. Parents should gauge their children's maturity and level of responsibility, and use these things to determine if their child is ready for a phone. As your child gets older and starts to become more independent, their will be more reasons to consider allowing them to have a phone. Ultimately, if you do decide to allow your child to have a phone, it is necessary to monitor your child's phone use. Set some rules such as a phone curfew, and how often each day can be spent on social media. Setting rules, making the consequences of breaking the rules clear, and strictly monitoring your child's cell phone use will allow you to make sure that your child is using their phone responsibly.

Some Additional Resources on Children and Cell Phones: