With technology going places we never quite imagined, it is a frightening time for parents. While the dangers of the internet and the habitual nature of smartphones are ever-present issues, kids are wanting phones of their own at very early ages. It seems like from the moment a child can talk they are asking for a phone. Since it is not recommended for young children under the age of ten to have their own mobile device, when the time does come for them to get their own phone, you should choose one that is conducive to their needs and safety.
When Should your Child Get a Phone?
Most experts agree that any child under the age of six should not have a phone of their own. From the ages six to 10, they should be introduced to mobile technology but shouldn’t necessarily have a device just yet. It is only after ten that a child is ready for a phone. While it doesn’t only have to do with age, maturity can be hard to determine. Watch how they interact with technology, if the show constraint for example, to determined when your kid should get a phone. A campaign called Wait until 8th advocates for only giving kids smartphones once they have reached the eighth grade.
Why Give a Child a Phone?
By far the biggest reason parents buy their child a phone is to keep track of them and give them the ability to contact someone when there is an emergency. This is a great tool of mobile devices, but they also come with many evils. You need to weigh how much the phone makes the child safe and how much it is putting them in danger.
Their First Phone
When thinking about buying your kid their first one, it is imperative that you don’t spend too much on it. The likelihood that your child will lose the phone is very high. They may also drop it on the ground or in water and break the phone. This is the most important thing to think about, but there are also other factors.
The service plan that you choose for them is another big factor. If you don’t want them to have access to the internet, you can block it and only give them the ability to call and send text messages. There are even phones that don’t have any service at all for kids who simply want to play games. As far as paying for data goes, the lowest cost is the Wi-Fi only option with no SIM card at all. They won’t be able to call or send texts, but they will be able to video, audio, and text message using an applicable app. If your carrier has a convenient deal to add a line, sharing data with a child can teach them about the costs of a phone.
Safety of the Child
The well-being of the child is usually the number one thing on the parents’ minds. They want to know how they can keep their child safe when buying them a phone for the first time. One way to do this is to make deals with your child. When you are about to buy them a mobile device, tell them that you will only do so if you get to see what is on it. Accessing their phone is key when they are young, you want to make sure they are not doing things they are not supposed to.
According to the experts at the site MoneyPug, which is used to compare mobile phones, another way to do this is to set up a parental control app. One of these many apps can help you monitor internet use to see what sites they are going on, disable websites and specific content, and limit screen use time. You will be able to disable the phone during certain hours and when they are supposed to be doing chores or homework.
Above all things, when you are buying your child’s first phone, it should be inexpensive and safe. Most smartphones come with the ails of the modern world, but if you take control of your child’s interaction with the outside world and time on screens, you will be able to keep them safe and productive. While there is no phone that is the one for kids, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to carve out a conducive environment when the time comes for them to get a phone.