Is it time to get your child a phone?

Phone for kids

Your child comes home from school and asks for a phone, and you thought you had a few more years before you had to decide… So how young is too young for a kid to have a phone?

The age at which children ask for cell phones keeps getting younger, and many elementary school children now have cell phones. It may be easy to say ‘no’, but before doing so, consider that it may actually make sense for your child to have a cell phone.

The benefits of a phone for kids

A cell phone will allow you to reach your child when necessary and will allow your child to do the same. Sheila dropped her son off at soccer and went to run some errands. Halfway through her errands, her son called to tell her that practice was ending early. Jed was hesitant about letting his 13-year-old go to football game at the local high school by herself with her friends. He knew she was responsible and it was appropriate to give her some freedom, but he still worried. The solution? He told her that she had to keep her cell phone turned on and told her he would call her every hour.

Many children approach their parents complaining that they need a phone since much of their classmates’ social activity happens online. For persons growing up before the advent of social media this may seem rather strange, but we should remember that our kids have a point. Lacking the ability to join their friends online may be just as detrimental as being permanently grounded was when we were young. (Remember, if you decide to get your child a smartphone, talk with her about online safety and consider investing in an online protection app, such as Jiminy).

A Phone for kids doesn’t have to be costly

Cost may be another factor in your decision. Getting phone for a kid may not be as expensive as you think. Look into your current cell phone plan and see what other options may exist. Many carriers offer family plans with discounts for multiple lines. If you’re ready to upgrade your phone, you may be able to give your child your old phone or there may be discounted or free phones available for adding a new user. Remember, your child doesn’t need the newest or the most feature-full gadget out there.

Bottom line? Parents know best

So, is your child too young for a cell phone or a smartphone? You know your child best, and can appreciate his level of maturity and trustworthiness. If they are high enough, perhaps it is time. If they are not, stick with your negative response, but reconsider your decision in a month or two. In such a case, tell your child why you are declining, and that may serve as an incentive for him to change those few bothersome behaviors you’ve noticed.

Whatever you decide – a parental control app like Jiminy is a must for parents who wish to understand how children use their phones and keep them safe.

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