It seems like kids are getting phones younger and younger. Maybe your child has asked for one, or you’ve thought about giving them one on your own.
How do you go about making this decision? Understandably, you don’t want to get them a phone before they are ready. You also don’t want them to be without a phone when they need it most.
Because every child is different, there’s no age when they are magically ready for this responsibility. Below are some of the key factors you should consider before making your purchase.
How Responsible Are They?
Is your child ready to take care of something more delicate and expensive than they are used to handling?
Measures such as screen protectors can only do so much. We all use them in case of accidental drops or scratches. But if your child is going to be careless with their phone, they might incur serious damage.
If you do decide to go with a brand new phone, requrie them to use a case. There are many Android and iPhone cases for girls and boys through online retailers, all of which can be shipped to your door.
Will They Lose It?
Being responsible is more than just not dropping the phone or throwing it around. Your child needs to be aware of where their phone is at all times. If you feel they’ll accidentally leave it behind, then they might not be ready for the responsibility.
What Will They Use It For?
Many kids beg for a phone for the wrong reasons. They might just want to use it to play the latest games. Maybe they are interested in creating social media accounts.
These reasons shouldn’t influence your decision. They should get a phone for valid reasons such as:
- Being able to stay in touch with you while out of the house
- Communicating with friends or family who live far away
- Staying in touch with friends for social reasons
- Using apps for school and/or other productive activities
It’s worthwhile to have an honest conversation with them about why they want a phone. This can help you determine whether or not it’s the right time.
Consider the Different Options
You’re probably not going to get them the latest iPhone. This is an expensive investment and something that they, quite frankly, don’t need. There are other options out there that are more reasonable and affordable.
You could give them a hand-me-down. This is a great way to recycle and take the pressure off of buying something completely new.
If you don’t have a good hand-me-down, you could get them an older model. It’s a much cheaper route and is practical for most families.
Maybe Wait on the Smartphone
When we think of cellular devices these days, most of us think of smartphones. While they are the most common, they are not the only option available to you.
You can get devices such as prepaid carriers. This is a great option if you don’t think your child is ready for the responsibility of an actual smartphone. They are affordable and have limited, easy-to-use features that allow you to stay in contact with your kids.
Establish Ground Rules
If you do decide to get your child a phone, make sure they understand the responsibility. Some things you should determine before giving in are:
- What kind of apps they’re allowed to use
- Whether or not they’re permitted to buy apps/in-game purchases
- How much screen time they can have
- When they aren’t allowed to use their phone (bedtime, etc.)
Use Your Best Judgement
At the end of the day, trust your instincts when making this decision. You know your child best, so only you really knows whether this is something they can handle.