Once upon a time, the question at hand when it came to children and age, was when they should be allowed out on their own, with no parental supervision. These days the question that most parents have to consider first – and one that is much harder to answer – is what age should their child be allowed to have their own mobile phone.
There are many pros and cons to the argument, many reasons why a child might want a phone and many just as good reasons why parents may not want them anywhere near one. We’ll explore these pros and cons and you can make up your own mind about when your child is ready for their very first phone.
Something that is always an aspect in any child’s life is peer pressure. Sometimes this can be nasty, a bullying kind of problem that causes much upset and even anxiety and depression. Sometimes it can be as simple as a friend saying that they’re getting, or have just been given, their own smartphone, and your child wanting to be the same as their pal. Of course, having something just because someone else has it isn’t a good reason to be given that item at all, but it does give you as a parent pause to think. If the friend has a phone, perhaps it is time for your child to have one?
The thing is, it’s not just about age. Yes, the friend might be the same age as your boy or girl, but they might also be more responsible. Their parents might work late, or the child might take a bus or train to school, and therefore a phone is useful to be able to stay in contact. You might always be there for school pickup and drop off, and your child might not go anywhere without you – is a phone as necessary in that case? If it is, make sure you speak to your child about which phone would suit them best – you can even enjoy picking out unique iphone 8 cases together.
Smartphones are amazing things, and it’s likely that you wouldn’t be without yours. Allowing your child to have their own, however, is an entirely different matter. You know what you’ve come across in terms of ‘trolls’ and online bullies, and you are probably worried about letting your child be subjected to the same thing. It’s a parent’s instinct to protect their child, and if that means not allowing them a mobile for a while yet because they are not emotionally mature enough to handle it, then so be it.
The question comes, however, about how a child will ever learn about how to deal with these issues if they are never allowed to confront them. It’s entirely understandable that a parent would want to shield their children from the real world for as long as possible, but doing that might mean that they end up unable to manage on their own as a well-rounded adult. Therefore, although it’s hard, allowing them to have a smartphone could be a way to show them what’s what. The key is to ensure that you also have access to their phones and social media accounts and that your child feels they are able to discuss any problems they encounter with you.
The great thing about having a smartphone is that it offers unparalleled access to the world. With a phone, your child will be able to discover new things, learn about different cultures, make friends and even get their homework done in a fun, interactive way! For some parents, this particular positive far outweighs the potential negatives.
Parents Do It
Trying to explain to your child why you have a smartphone – and why you use it as frequently as it’s probably you do – yet they aren’t allowed one is a difficult issue. With children, the ironic saying, “do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t really hold water. They want to emulate their parents and can’t see a problem with doing that. If you truly don’t want your young kids to have a mobile phone just yet, why not put yours away too? Make it clear that they aren’t needed at all times, and that when they are required, it is for emergencies only. This might persuade a child that it’s not the be all and end all anyway.
A mobile phone is a wonderful asset when it comes to the safety of your child. In the past, parents had to let their children out on their own (eventually!) without any means of contacting them should they need to. Now, with a phone in their pocket and plenty of credit topped up – or a good contract organised – you can rest more easily knowing where they are at all times.