Since many of today’s parents didn’t grow up with cell phones, deciding when to purchase your child’s first smartphone can be complicated. When is your child ready? It’s less about age and more about your child’s maturity level and ability to handle responsibility.
Questions to ask yourself before purchasing a phone for your child:
Can your child handle the responsibility of a phone?
Is your child good about following rules you’ve set in other areas? Are they careful enough with other electronic devices? After all, a phone is an expensive piece of technology. If you decide to invest in a smartphone, consider protecting yourself from loss, theft and more with a cell phone protection plan.
Will a phone simplify afterschool logistics?
Perhaps your child’s afterschool schedule is getting more complicated, with activities requiring more planning for drop-offs and pickups. A smartphone may make this more convenient for both your child and yourself.
Could access to a phone improve your child’s safety?
Can your child easily reach you in the case of an emergency? A smartphone could not only improve safety but also allow your child to check in with your more often.
So you think your child is ready for their first phone? Do it right!
If you answered “yes” to the questions above, you’re ready to dive right in with a smartphone for your child – just be sure to set some limits:
Use parental controls.
Many parents use parental controls to limit screen time, block app purchases or restrict access to certain websites. You may even want to go old school and set a rule that the phone charges overnight in the kitchen to eliminate the possibility of late-night texting or gaming.
Set up a device contract.
Talk to your child about responsible tech use, and set up a device contract to outline the responsibility your child is taking on.
Consider monitoring their use.
Tell your child up front if you’ll be tracking phone usage. If you treat phone check-ins as a mutual opportunity to share ideas about the best ways to use technology, they don’t have to feel intrusive or like punishment.
Teach them how to have fun and get the most from their new tech toy!
Owning a phone may be a big responsibility, but it can also be a lot of fun. Once you’ve covered the rules and limits, let your kid personalize the new phone to show their personality.
Want more tips? If you are enrolled in your phone carrier’s protection and support program, you may already have unlimited access to our tech experts who can help you with customized parental controls that keep your kids safe, no matter what devices they use.