6 Signs It’s Time for Your Child to Get a Phone

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Too often, parents spend their time thinking of why their children shouldn’t get a phone. While young kids shouldn’t have phones for many reasons, knowing when is important. After all, if your child doesn’t have a phone when it’s truly needed, it can quickly become problematic.

Child to Get a Phone

Every child is different, as is every family, but listed below are six signs to look for to know when it might be time for your child to get their first phone.

1. They’ve proven to you that they’re sufficiently responsible.

The biggest thing a child needs to demonstrate before earning the right to a first phone is responsibility. Every kid is different in terms of the age at which they mature and how fast they accept responsibility. But once they start to display that capacity, you’ll know.

Don’t be shy about testing your kid’s level of responsibility. Please pay attention to how honest they are about what they’re doing with their friends. Give them responsibilities such as savings goals and chores. See how diligent they are in following through with those responsibilities. These smaller duties will prove very telling when deciding whether or not your kid is ready for a phone.

You might also consider starting your child with a kid’s phone at a young age. Kid-friendly phones come equipped with basic features such as calling and texting. But they don’t allow for internet browsing or social media, meaning your kid will be less distracted and much safer. You’ll have peace of mind. Plus, it’ll be the perfect way to prepare your kid for a real phone.

2. They’re often away from home and need a way to communicate.

A kid-friendly phone allows your child to communicate while away from home. The ability to communicate is one of the primary reasons most parents consider a phone for their kids.

As kids enter their teen years, they start to spend more time with friends. This means shopping excursions, having sleepovers, going out to eat, and more. You’ll want to have a way to talk with them while they’re not at home.

If your kid is starting to spend more time away from home, it may be time for their first phone. By having a way to communicate with them, you can ensure their safety and your peace of mind. You may want to consider using a child-tracking app at first. Once you’ve built sufficient mutual trust, they can text you updates while they’re out and about.

3. You have safety concerns that a phone could solve.

For many parents, a phone raises various safety concerns. Many parents don’t realize that a phone can make their children safer when used appropriately. If your child is ready to have a phone, having one can contribute to keeping them safe.

Think about it this way. If your kid has a phone, you’ll always be able to know where they are. They’ll be able to call you in case of an emergency. Once your child matures to a smartphone, several safety apps are also available for download.

4. They’ve shown an interest in learning how to handle technology.

When your kid demonstrates that they’re interested in more than just games, they may be ready for a phone. Kids typically like to use their phones for things such as games and watching videos with their friends. On the other hand, adults tend to use their phones for more serious matters such as communication, organization, and learning.

Nowadays, many different careers require a certain level of proficiency in technology. Since technology is used across various jobs, it’s a good idea for your kid to learn some fundamentals early. We live in a digital world, and knowing these essential skills early is never bad. A phone can be a great way for your kid to test the waters. They can learn how to use the telephone independently and be better equipped to use more complex technology in the future.

5. They’ve demonstrated critical thinking skills.

One big reason a kid getting a phone can be risky is access to social media. Social media can be uniquely troublesome because it presents a real danger to children. Often, they end up distracted, which can take their attention away from other important things, such as social interaction and school work. This is why children need critical thinking skills before getting a phone that offers this level of access to the internet.

According to parenting expert Judy Arnall, kids also don’t understand the permanence of posting things online. Their critical-thinking skills usually don’t kick in until about age 13. For this reason and many others, it’s not recommended that kids younger than 13 have access to a smartphone. A kid’s phone, maybe. But anything else is likely to cause unnecessary stress. Your kid could even become a victim of cyberbullying, as just one example.

6. They’ve developed other healthy habits.

Children usually don’t get phones because parents fear what they might do to them in the future. They worry it might weaken their social skills because they’re constantly attached to a screen. Too much screen time can lead to other physical and mental health problems. For example, high levels of screen time can lead to weight gain due to the lack of physical exercise.

If your kid has developed healthy habits by this point, they may be ready for a phone. Watch to see if they have good social skills with other kids, spend time outside, and enjoy eating various foods. If they’re developing good habits early on, you’ll be more confident that they’re ready for a phone.

Your kid doesn’t need a phone as soon as one of their classmates gets one. And you shouldn’t feel any pressure to get them one at that moment, either. What your family does is your family’s business.

Just keep in mind that there will come a time when your child is ready for a first phone. Look for the signs and be prepared. When they’re ready to handle the responsibility, communicate your expectations about how the new phone will be used … in writing.