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Children’s Phone | What Age Should I Give My Child a Mobile Phone?

Children's Phone

What Age Should I Give My Child a Mobile Phone?

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As a parent, you want do what’s best for your child. You want to give them the tools they need to succeed in life, but you also want to protect them from harm. So when it comes to giving your child a mobile phone, it’s understandable that you might feel a bit conflicted.

On the one hand, you don’t want your child to feel left out if all their friends have phones. On the other hand, you might be worried about the potential risks associated with owning a mobile phone, such as cyberbullying, sexting, or excessive screen time.

So, what’s the right answer? At what age should you give your child a mobile phone?

Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as each family is different, and every child matures at a different rate.

What the Industry Says…

Tech geniuses like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs have all waited until their children were teenagers before giving them a mobile phone. Bill Gates didn’t even allow his kids to have phones until they turned 14! Some of you may feel that’s quite late, particularly seeing most kids these days seem to have a phone before they’ve even hit double digits.

Ofcom’s most recent report on children and mobile phones found that 1% of 3-4-year-olds now own a smartphone. For 5-7-olds, that figure jumps to 5%. By age 8-11, 35% have their phones; by age 12 – 15, this is up to 83%.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 18 avoid screen time altogether, except for video chatting. Babies and toddlers up to 5 should have one hour per day.

Of course, there is no clear-cut rule about when a child should have a phone. However, there are other things to consider that may help you decide whether your child is ready for a phone.

Your Child’s Age and Maturity Level

One of the most essential factors to consider on whether to give your child a mobile phone is their age and maturity. Here are a few signs that your child might be ready for a phone:

  • They can take care of personal items
  • They’re able to follow the rules and stick to limits
  • They’re on time when you’re picking them up
  • They understand and accept responsibility
  • They’re able to solve problems independently
  • Complete homework without a fuss
  • Understand internet safety

If your child can meet most, if not all, of the above criteria, they’re probably ready for a phone.

Your Child’s Need vs. Want for a Phone

There’s a big difference between your child needing a phone and your child wanting a phone.

A need might be if they take medication and you want to be able to check in on them during the day or if they have asthma and you want to be able to reach them in case of an emergency. If that’s the case, a phone can be a lifesaver.

On the other hand, a want is if they see all their friends with phones and want to fit in. In this case, it might be worth waiting a bit longer or getting them a phone that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.

Smartphone vs. Mobile Phone

When giving your child a phone, you also need to decide whether you want to get them a smartphone or a mobile phone.

Further Reading…

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