Unlike instructions on when and how to drive a child in a car – there are no laws or clear instructions on when you can buy your child his first phone. In any case, you’ll be the one who’s paying the contract or the prepaid credits – so that your child can use a phone. But the question for many parents is: When is the right time to allow your child to use a phone? We will try to answer this question in our 2020 parents’ guide.
Kids and Smartphones: Is It a Smart Decision?
Numerous studies show that about 20% of children aged 8-9 already have their cell phones. At the age of 10-11, this number increases significantly – and according to some estimates by about 40%. The question of when it is time for a child to get their first cell phone is very individual and depends on many factors. However, we often ask questions about the reasons why a child wants to get a cell phone.
To what extent a child can understand the concept of risk – and can we explain to him what to look out for when using the internet via a mobile phone? We are primarily talking about smartphones here since they have access to the Internet, which is a must-have – but it also carries many risks with it.
What Are The Risks?
In our guide, we want to emphasize the dangers of the Internet to keep children safe online, but with unlimited access to apps, there’s always a chance your child may see inappropriate content. Of course, you can mitigate some of the risks by ensuring that the child does not know the password to trade apps on the phone. That way they can’t install apps without your knowledge and have to get your approval before installing new ones.
You should research the applications they want to install to decide if they are suitable. You should also talk to the child and emphasize that they should never give out personal information such as their name, address, school, etc. – unless you say it’s okay.
What Type of Phone to Choose When It Comes To Children?
The basic-featured phone is enough for communication. You don’t have to buy an iPhone just to be able to call or send a text message. There are advantages to a cheaper phone model. It doesn’t matter if it gets lost or broken. Besides, since there is no internet access, there is no chance of them using insecure applications or browsing the web without supervision.
There are other good reasons to opt for the basic model. Although any phone is a target for thieves, an expensive smartphone in the hands of a child is easy to steal. According to psychologists, for a child aged 7-12, such a simple phone is quite enough. A child can call the parents and report that he has arrived, or call them to pick him up, etc. – and send a simple message. At such a young age, a child can hardly understand the concept of risk posed by using a smartphone.
But What If You Choose A Smartphone?
Smartphones that have many possibilities should be given to children only when they can understand the potential negative consequences of using the Internet and social networks. If you opt for a smartphone, make sure it has GPS.
According to spyphone.com, using tracking applications is very important because that way you can find out where the child is at any time. And not only that. Through such applications, you can have an insight into the contacts on the child’s phone – but also the ability to search for the child’s activities, as well as the panic button for emergencies. All this can help you a lot and make you calmer. As we mentioned in our guide, it is crucial to set basic rules about using your phone and the Internet – as well as explain to your child any surveillance, location, or parental control software you might use.
Teaching Children Responsibility
In the end, parents will decide if and when their kid needs to get a cell phone. At the time when they consider their child ready for having a phone – there are many ways and approaches on how to test them. A well-known method we already pointed out – is to begin by purchasing a simple cell phone for the kid. For example, a phone with the capacity to send instant messages or calls.
That way, parents can evaluate whether kids can utilize these gadgets dependably or not. At the point when you choose a smartphone for your kid – it is a must to define limits and rules. Set certain principles that the kid should follow. Before everything else, you will need to have control over the content your child uses. Whether you do it directly or through apps – try to build a relationship of trust with your child, because that’s what matters most.
Adherence To The Rules
No matter which phone you choose and at what age the child starts using it – it is very important to clearly define with the child the time in which he can and should use the phone. It is very unhealthy for a child to use a mobile phone before going to bed, as well as to carry it to bed. Phone screens produce blue light that can be very tiring for the eyes. That’s why we sometimes get tired, ourselves.
Some new phones have a so-called blue light filter that you can turn on in the evening – but even so, the phones should not be used in bed before bed. You can always improve your child’s safety by using applications. If your child is still small for a mobile phone, you can always buy him a children’s watch – and enable him to communicate with you, with having an insight into the exact location of the child.
The line when children start carrying mobile phones is moving more and more. When is the right time, it will be an eternal dilemma. However, when we buy a mobile phone for our child – it makes life easier for us as parents. The mobile phone should certainly not be a status symbol – with which children will race among their peers who have a better or more expensive phone. That is why it is best and most reliable for a child to buy a new medium-performance phone.