The next time you go to a restaurant, the movies or just shopping around town, look around at how many people have a cell phone. Now consider how many of them are teenagers or younger. You can do so many things with a Smartphone and people of all ages have them, including kids. While there is no denying cell phones have many benefits, it still leaves parents with a very important question.
Is my kid old enough for a cell phone?
The problem is that there is no certain age to go by because all children mature at different ages. For that reason, every parent has to make the decision based on their child’s personality and maturity level. It can be a little confusing because you don’t want your child to feel left out if all of her friends have cell phones.
However, you shouldn’t feel pressured to buy her one if she isn’t ready just because her friends have them. “If all of your friends were jumping off a cliff, would you?” (Yeah, we went there.)
Before rushing out and getting her one too, there are a few things to consider that will help you determine if your kid is old enough for a phone of her own.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How mature is my child? – Does she understand that a cell phone is not a toy? Does she know that she must obey the rules for safety reasons and to avoid getting in trouble with it at school? Does she understand how to use it correctly?
- Is she responsible? – Does she do her homework and chores without you having to constantly remind her? Does she take good care of her things or is she always losing something?
- Can I trust her to obey the rules? – Will she go over her limits for talk, texts and downloads if she has access to the Internet? Will she use social media sites responsibility?
- Does my child need or just want a cell phone? – Some kids want a phone because other kids have one and it really doesn’t benefit them in any way. Others need them to stay in touch in case of an emergency.
In the end, every parent has to determine for themselves when their child is old enough for a cell phone, since it does depend on their unique personality and maturity level as well as your specific family needs. After considering the things above, if you decide your child is ready for a phone, the next step is determining what kind.
If your child needs a phone for safety reasons but you don’t want her to be connected to the Internet, you can choose a pre-paid phone with limited capabilities. This way, she can stay in touch with talk and text without the worries that having access to the Internet creates. It can also teach her responsibility because if she goes over her limit, she can’t use the phone until you purchase more.
Does your kid have a cell phone? What age did he get it?