Getting a phone when you’re a kid is quite an exciting moment and as a parent, it’s hard to decide when should kids have cell phones. So many questions face you but the recommended age for children to get a phone is early teenager or tween years.
Kid phones are a great way for them to connect with you, especially if they are traveling home from school by themselves or like to go out with their friends. If you’re ready to give your kiddo a smartphone then you’ll have to remind them that you’re in charge and you’ll want to establish clear rules to make sure you all have boundaries.
What Age Should Kids Get A Phone?
So, how old should you be to get a phone? Most experts suggest that your kids should be at least 8th grade before you get them a phone. Often, it’s not actually just age that’s important but also your kid’s level of social awareness.
You’ll also want to make sure that they understand fully the boundaries that you’ve set as a parent. So, it’s not always age that it’s important and you’ll want to make sure that your kid is completely ready for a phone.
You may also find that your kids are starting to put a good bit of pressure on you because their friends are getting new phones. They’re also going through a good bit of pressure themselves as they may feel it’s uncool that they don’t have a phone when everybody else does so try and keep this in mind when you approach the idea.
In fact, research shows that 42% of kids actually have a phone by age 10 and that figure changes to 71% by 12 and 91% by age 14.
The truth is, when answering the question “what age should kids have cellphones”, it’s completely down to what you’re comfortable with as a parent as well as how ready you think your kid is. Someone else’s 10 year old may not be as emotionally understanding as your kid and so maybe they won’t be as ready as yours is and of course, the other way around.
What Should I Take into Account?
When you’re deciding whether to get your kid a phone or not, it’s important to take a few factors into account to make sure it’s the best shot for your kid. But what are these? Let’s take a look at the list below.
- Responsibility – If your child wants a phone then you need to make sure that they’re responsible so you can trust them not to lose it and to keep it in good condition. Kids phone plans can be expensive and so if your kid usually loses things, it may be time for them to prove to you that they can be responsible before you get them a phone.
- Supervision – This factor is also important and we’ve touched on it a little bit already. There’s not much point in getting a phone for your kid if they’re surrounded by adults all the time because you know you can text another adult that they’re with. But, if they’re starting to go out more a bit with their friends and they’re gaining that independence then it’s worth thinking about.
- Practicality – This is probably one of the most obvious ones but if having a phone would make your kid’s life easier like catching the bus or keeping everything in one place then maybe it’s worth it. It would also be a great branch for them to be more independent as they could reach out to their coach to ask what time practice starts or they can message their friends to do something rather than you having to do it.
Should Kids Have Phones?
As a rule of thumb, if your kid always has adult supervision then they don’t really need a phone. These adults could be anyone from grandparents to you as parents, after school care, and so on. They may not need a phone if this is the case because these adults will probably be communicating just as they need to.
But, once your kid starts spending more time outside the house with friends or if they’re taking the bus to school then getting a phone may be something more necessary so they can communicate with you as a parent.
In fact, some parents have something called a “family phone” that they use when kids go on sleepovers for a night. This is used so that your kid can still contact you when they’re away from the house but it’s still not their phone and is kept in a box when it’s not in use.
- Communication – One of the pros of kids having a phone is that they can always communicate with you whenever they are. This can be extremely handy for families with divorced parents because you can check in with your kid whenever you need it but they can also let you know if they need anything. It’s also great for when your kids start going out with friends or sleeping over at relatives’ houses because there’s a constant flow of communication.
- Encourage Independence – Giving your kid a phone can also be a great way to encourage independence. You’re trusting them with something very valuable that not everyone has so if they know you trust them then this opens a whole world of other possibilities. With this trust established and your kid having access to their own phone then you could start thinking about things like online banking for pocket money if your child is the right age. Having an online banking app can help them learn how to properly save and budget and can be a really great tool later on in life.
- Emergencies – If your child is in an emergency and needs you then they always have your phone number or any emergency contact you’ve listed in their phone. This is a great way to make sure your child gets the support they need when they need it most. Most phones also have a tracking device which can be really handy if you need to get to your kid quickly. It also means you can get hold of them quickly if there’s any other type of emergency.
- Stay In Touch – Mobile phones can be a really good way for people to stay in contact with friends from school or clubs when they’re away. School breaks can be really long if you have no way of contacting your friends so if your kid has a phone then they have the freedom to keep in contact with people they want to.
- Educational – You might not want to believe it but phones can be really educational when they’re used correctly. You can get so many fun games or websites that can help your child if they’re struggling in a particular subject or if they just want to keep up with everything when school finishes for summer.
Just like anything, there are also a few negatives to giving your kid a phone that you may want to be aware of. But, a lot of these are the result of your kid spending too much time on their phone rather than giving the phone itself.
- Cognitive Skills – Introducing a phone too early can be known to alter your kid’s brain development as they spend too much time on them. Your kid’s cortex could actually start thinning and so you’ll find that there could be lower cognitive skills as a result.
- Dangers – The dark web can be a scary place and especially for a kid. If this is something you’re worried about then we’d recommend introducing parental controls so you’re sure that your kid is completely safe and won’t come across anything that could cause them harm.
- Addiction to technology – Another negative side of introducing a kids phone too early is the fact that your kid could develop technology addiction at a young age. If your kid has too much screen time then adrenaline dopamine is produced and therefore, your kid could very much be addicted to their screens which is not a habit you want them to have.
- Affect their Education – Lots of kids smartphones will be with them in school for safety but often many of them will also use their phones during recess or breaks. But, some kids may even use them in class when they’re meant to be paying attention which could have a serious effect on their education and their later knowledge development as they’re not properly listening to their teacher.
Kids and Cell Phones
So if you’re asking yourself ‘should a 10 year old have a phone’ or ‘should a 7 year old have a phone’ then we can’t give you a solid answer because this completely depends on your kid.
If you trust them enough to look after a phone then it might be an idea to start looking or if there’s a certain situation in their life that means you need an easy way to contact them then having a phone at a younger age isn’t a bad thing. It all depends on your kid a d you know them better than anyone so do what you think is best for your family.