Children & Smartphones: What’s the Right Age?
Today’s kids use smartphones on a regular basis. Digital devices are becoming an essential part of life for every child. According to the Pew Research Center, an average kid gets his or her first smartphone at the age of 11. Children ages 2–10 use their parents\’ smartphones for playing games and getting access to educational resources. However, most parents still wonder when the child is ready for a smartphone.
This question usually arises, when more and more children start bringing smartphones to school. At this age, kids become easily influenced by common trends and ask parents to purchase a smartphone not to differ from their peers. As Stacy Deebly-Raynolds from Education Center for Healthy Kids & Schools reports, the earliest appropriate age for getting access to a smartphone is 12–13.
Obvious Benefits of Obtaining Smartphone
There are several reasons why parents hand in smartphones to their kids:
- Be constantly in touch. Sometimes it is necessary to clarify why a child is late, how many classes he or she has today, ask about dinner plans, etc.
- Help with studying. As you probably know, there are a lot of educational apps that can make a studying process more engaging and efficient.
- Make sure a child is safe. Being able to connect with a kid 24/7 is crucial to be sure he or she is not in trouble.
Potential Harms to Consider
As reported by Zeeko, 17% of kids of the 1st-grade interact with strangers online. 15% of the first-grade children, 26% of the third-grade, and 23% of the fifth-grade said they had been cyberbullied or knew someone, who had been cyberbullied.
Unfortunately, cyberbullying and texting with strangers are not the only dangers children are exposed to. There is a lot of inappropriate content online such as porn, violent videos, articles for an adult audience, etc. That all becomes available with the use of a smartphone. Moreover, children can easily become victims of sexting or online predators.
How to Make Right Decision
It’s difficult to assign a specific age to use a smartphone. A child’s individual responsibility and maturity are main factors that should be considered. The following suggestions will help you introduce your child to a smartphone in the most appropriate way:
- Set time limits. Talk with your child and discuss why time limits are important. Explain at what time, for how long, and why your kid is allowed or not to use a gadget.
- Set boundaries on device usage. It is essential to specify how many calls and messages a kid can make per day, when a phone should be turned off, etc.
- Consider parental controls. To protect your child from online dangers and inappropriate information, think about installing a parental control app like Pumpic. With its help, you can easily monitor all activities on your kid\’s smartphone and thus, be sure that your child is safe.
If you want your kid to develop appropriate phone habits, demonstrate them yourself. There is no standard age to start carrying a smartphone. Everything depends on your child’s understanding of responsibilities that come with a mobile device.