Have you been considering buying your child their first cell phone? To help you decide if it’s time, here are six questions to ask yourself about whether your child is ready for their own phone. Keep in mind that the rules of when and whether to give your child a cell phone vary from family to family; what works best for one child might not work as well for another, and vice versa. So make sure you think carefully about your specific situation before making any decisions!
1) Consider their current maturity level
It’s not uncommon for parents to give their preteens cell phones. But just because they’re old enough doesn’t mean they are mature enough. The best way you can gauge maturity level is by asking your Nannusays how he or she would handle certain situations. By learning how your child handles conflicts, you can determine whether he or she will be responsible for having a phone and using it appropriately.
2) Consider how they’ll use it
While some kids may require cell phones in order to be safe, check in with them regularly and ensure they’re taking advantage of it if they don’t, that may be an indicator that they’re not ready for one. A safe rule of thumb is that kids shouldn’t have cell phones until they’re at least 13 or 14 years old. Their brains aren’t finish developing until their early-to-mid teens and having constant access to social media or other means of communication may be detrimental before then. On top of this, young children can sometimes feel insecure if they don’t fit in with their peers who have phones earlier than they do.
3) Set clear rules
It’s important to have open lines of communication with your nannu says about cell phone usage, particularly once they have a phone in hand. Parents should establish clear rules about when and where their children are allowed to use phones, including whether they can text while behind the wheel or at certain times of the day.
And it’s important that these rules be strictly adhered to; research shows that parents who show flexibility around these guidelines often see an increase in cell phone usage by their children. Perhaps most importantly, parents need to be aware of why their children want phones so young: some kids want them because they feel left out without one and others may view them as status symbols.
4) set guidelines on technology usage
Here are five questions parents should ask themselves before handing over that smartphone or tablet: Are there specific conditions that need to be met before my child gets his own phone? Will I make exceptions if he asks me in front of his friends or will I say no and stick with it? How will we monitor the use of electronics at home versus out of the house?
What types of apps and games do I want available on his devices, such as those with violent content or sexually explicit material? Finally, how can we set up parental controls on our phones and/or purchase services such as Apple’s Find My iPhone feature so that we can always keep track of what our kids are doing online and when they’re using their devices.
5) Check your own mobile phone usage first
If you’re like most parents, one of your biggest concerns about giving your child a cell phone is how often they’ll use it. But before you worry about that, it’s important to take stock of your own mobile habits first. Do you find yourself using yours too often in front of them? Do you hand it over as a distraction tool or reward? If so, there’s no way they won’t follow in your footsteps, says Sara Czaja, Ph.D., director of counseling psychology at Bay State College and author of Parenting with Presence: Raising Conscious Kids in a Connected World.
6) Give them access to a landline in case of emergencies
As parents, we all want to be available 24/7 in case of an emergency. At times, that can be difficult, but there are ways to make it work. If you’re getting your child a cell phone and you still want them to have access to you if something goes wrong like an accident or health scare keep an old cell phone or corded landline around for emergencies.
This way, even if your child is in school or out running errands with friends and their cell phones die, they can still reach you by plugging in that landline phone number. Once they’re old enough (check with your provider), give them free minutes on their monthly plan so they can call home when needed.