What Age Should Your Child Get a Smartphone?
While you’re working diligently to provide the best life for your children, it’s necessary that you evaluate the impact of every provision that you make for the child. If you realize that it’ll cause more harm than good, then you should discontinue any plan to purchase it for them.
The rapid penetration of smartphones into the market has left many parents wallowing in a complex quagmire! They’re uncertain of the right age for the child to start using these gadgets. This article will highlight crucial things that you should consider before you decide whether your child has matured enough to possess a smartphone.
Statistics of Smartphone Ownership Among the Teens
According to research carried out at Pew Research Center, approximately 95% of all the teens in the United States have access to a smartphone. An estimated 45% of the teens with smartphones opine that they spend a significant proportion of their time online. Some of their favorite sites include YouTube (85%), Instagram (72%), Snapchat (69%), and Facebook (51%).
When the teens were asked to share the benefits of their possession of a smartphone, this is how they responded:
31% of them claimed that it positively impacted their lives
24% said that it had negative effects
45% agreed that it has both negative and positive effects
It’s clear from these statistics that letting your child own a smartphone is a decision that can either lead to positive or negative outcomes. As such, you’re obliged to observe and understand the behavior of your child before you decide whether to buy a smartphone for them.
If you’re convinced that the gadget will positively change their life, then you shouldn’t hesitate to buy one for them. However, you should remember that teens are always curious about life, and they’re likely to try new things when they get a chance.
As such, you should try your best to talk to your children and encourage them to explore only the positive side of the gadget. If need be, you can always limit the use of it to prevent overdependence, which can lead to poor development of their social lives. Let them understand that it’s necessary to interact with people as opposed to virtual engagements that can ruin their self-esteem.
How to Tell Whether Your Child is Ready for a Smartphone
This is one of the biggest dilemmas among parents, since they often find it relatively difficult to decide whether a smartphone will destroy or build the future of their children. If you’re in such a confusion, you should answer the following questions to resolve your problem:
Does your child need a smartphone?
It’s important that you learn to differentiate between a need and a want. You should evaluate whether your child is demanding for that smartphone just to satisfy their ego, or if it will be instrumental in their well-being.
If your child insists that you should buy a smartphone for them, you should take the initiative to understand the motive behind the demands. If you’re convinced that your children need the gadget, then you can purchase one for them.
Can Your Child Take Responsibility that Comes with Owning a Smartphone?
Let your child understand that there are rules that will govern their smartphone use. If you’re sure that they can follow the guidelines religiously, then you can purchase it for them. Always remember that the child is still under your care. They need as much guidance as possible to ensure that they benefit positively from the phone.
Does Your Child Understand the Risks of Owning a Smartphone?
Investing in a smartphone requires a substantial amount of money. As such, you should be sure that your child is capable of taking excellent care of the gadget. If your child has a culture of negligence, then you will need to talk to them about the need for taking care of the gadget.
Additionally, you should understand whether your child understands the negative effects that can befall them due to smartphone use. They include phishing, cyberbullying, and other harmful activities propagated by cybercriminals. If they are not aware of these risks, then you need to guide them through online safety guidelines. Only buy the phone when you’re sure that they follow your rules.
How to Ensure Effective Use
As soon as you buy a smartphone for your child, it’s necessary that you establish controls. Help them understand the boundaries so that you safeguard their social life while allowing them to enjoy the numerous benefits associated with smartphone use.
Also, there is absolutely no harm in setting up a monitoring system to detect unusual activities. When doing this, ensure that your child understands your motive to reduce resistance.
There is no standard age when your child should acquire a smartphone. However, you should differentiate between a need and a want to ensure that you only purchase the gadget when it’s necessary. This way, you’ll reduce the chances of misuse.