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In the modern world, there is bound to be a time when your child starts asking you for a cell phone.
Unfortunately, that time may come when your child is very young, having borrowed your or your partner’s phone to play games or watch videos. Of course, when your special one is little, then it’s very easy to dismiss these questions by simply telling them that they’re too young.
But what happens when they’re a little older and when you tell them that they can’t have a cell phone, they then tell you that everyone in their class has one?
At some point, you’re going have to decide if your child is ready or not. Only you and your co-parent can make that decision. As you’ll well know, the benefits of giving your child a phone comes with some worrying disadvantages too.
Above all else, you need to be completely comfortable before giving your child his or her first cell phone. It’s important to ask yourself some key questions first to gauge just how comfortable you might be.
The very first thing that every parent should ask is, am I happy for my child to have a cell phone?
If your heart says no, then it is saying no for a reason.
But there are many explanations for that no. Perhaps your child is too young, or maybe you don’t think your child is ready to grow up and have independence from you, which is something that a cell phone inevitably brings.
The next question that you need to ask is: Does my child need a phone?
Yes, your child wants a phone, but do they need it?
Depending on your child’s age, they may now be socializing, visiting the cinema, or the mall with friends, and this is one very good reason to consider letting your child have a phone. It will allow you to contact them and for them to contact you. But there are also many good reasons for your child to have a phone, which we will move onto later because there are a few more questions that you must ask. They are:
- Are you capable of teaching your child to use a cell phone?
- Can you set and enforce limits and rules when it comes to the cell phone?
- Have you researched which phone is suitable for a child?
- Do you know how to monitor the phone’s usage?
- Have you looked into call plans, and are you sure that you can afford the plans in question?
- Are you ready to explain the risks of a cell phone, and will your child be able to comprehend the risks associated with using a cell phone?
Once you’re able to answer yes to every single one of these questions – without exception – then your child might be ready to have a cell phone.
Having considered these questions, then you’ll have the right information required for your child to have a healthy relationship with their new phone. But before you start working through those questions, let’s have a look at what a healthy and an unhealthy relationship with a cell phone is for a child.
An Unhealthy Relationship with Cell Phone
- Your child has no limits on screen time.
- Your child only knows the phone’s code.
- Your child’s phone is paired with your or your co-parent’s bank card, so app purchases or in-app purchases are possible.
- Your child uses more than the call plan’s limits.
- Your child keeps the phone with them at all times, including at school.
- Your child is allowed to use the phone at night, in their bedroom, without any observation.
- You do not know what apps are installed on your child’s phone.
- You do not know who the contacts in your child’s phone are.
- Your child uses the phone during mealtimes or family time.
If any of these statements are true, then it means that your child has an unhealthy relationship with their phone. The problem is that many parents will recognize some or all of these statements. If you take the plunge and allow your child to have a cell phone, then keep these statements in mind. If they ever become true, then it is time to reconsider your decision to give your child a cell phone.
A Healthy Relationship with a Cell Phone
- You know the passcode to your child’s phone
- Your child has strict limits upon the amount of time that they are allowed to use the phone. You enforce the limits, and the child respects the limits.
- Your child asks permission before every app they download.
- You regularly check the contents of your child’s phone, including text messages, call history, and any other communication on the phone.
- The ‘Kids Mode’ is turned on the phone.
- Your child never goes beyond the limits of the calling plan.
- Your child does not have the phone in the bedroom with them, and it is given to them only for a set amount of time per day.
If you and your child adhere to these statements, then your child will have a healthy relationship with their phone, and you can be certain that they are safe at all times.
What type of phone is good for a child?
Now that you’re at this point, and you feel that your child is ready for a cell phone, then you may be wondering what type of cell phone would be best suited to them.
Some cell phones are specifically designed for kids. These should certainly be considered as they are loaded with lots of great features to ensure your child’s safety.
Whatever phone that you get for your child, you should make sure that it is durable, and that you get a case to enhance the durability further. The last thing you want is for an expensive new phone to be broken within hours of purchasing it.
Now you should be in a better position to decide if your child is ready for a cell phone. Do not take this decision lightly. It’s important. You should not allow peer pressure from other parents – or even your co-parent – to force you to do something you don’t want to do. But you should also be aware that your child will need a phone at some point. It’s unavoidable in the modern world for your child to live without one. And there are lots of benefits that come with the phone.
You can contact them at all times, and they can contact you too. Some apps will allow you to locate your child at all times, so you will know they’re where they’re meant to be. A phone can also help your child socialize with their friends. So, there are some good points for getting a cell phone. As long as it feels right, and you’re sure that you and your child are ready, then it’s time for your child to get their first cell phone.