When Should You Buy a Mobile Phone For Your Son or Daughter?
The prospect of giving your son or daughter a phone for the first time is terrifying for you as a parent. New models, in particular, are scary because of how expensive they are and the potential they have to show your children something it shouldn’t. So how can you, as the mother or father, provide a phone without regretting it?
Parents can safely provide a phone to their children at any reasonable age for safety and to teach them responsibility. Parental blocks and rules help teach responsibility and prevent access to unwanted sites. Establishing a “contract” can prepare older children for the real world.
Read below for some tips to make giving phones to your kids a little easier.
Start with a Cheap and Simple Phone
It’s a good idea for your child’s first phone to be inexpensive with minimal features. It takes pressure off of you to give them a functional phone that only costs you £40 rather than £600 or so.
For children between the ages of 6-11, It’s also unnecessary to give a phone with more functions than calling and texting. Kimberly Wonderly, who has a bachelor’s in exercise science, points out young children need outside play with other children to develop more coordinated moves like kicking, hopping, and throwing and become sociable.
For your older children or teens, you should be able to trust them to be more careful with a more modern phone. You could also encourage them that if they earn the money for a better phone through chores, they can have that phone. That teaches them the value of money and the value of what they are buying because they had to pay for it themselves.
Then you can set your boundaries.
Discuss Your Rules and Boundaries
Owning a phone is a big responsibility for kids, and it’s a big deal to them that you trust them so it’s important that you discuss and establish the ground rules for owning a phone.
What do you expect from your kids when you give them their phones?
- Keeping it on them at all times?
- Limiting amounts of data and app use like YouTube?
- Or maybe giving you the phone at the end of the day so that they don’t stay up late?
Try establishing a trial period with your kids to let them prove they can be responsible with the cheap phone and will follow your conditions. Always be open to giving them more freedom as they prove they are responsible to you.
When you give your teen a better phone, you can really give older kids or teens experience for the real world by creating your own contract with them that sets your expectations clearly, as well as the consequences for breaking them. Josh Shipp has an excellent contract example to give you some ideas.
It’s brave to trust your children with something like a phone, but you also know how important it is that your children are safe and able to call for help. This is an opportunity to earn mutual respect for each other. Don’t be too afraid to trust your kids to make their own decisions.
- Mobile phones: 5 tips for buying your child's first phone at Christmas | HELLO! (hellomagazine.com)
- 6 Tips For Parents Before Giving Your Child A Smartphone | HuffPost Life
- Teen Cell Phone Contract - Download for Free (joshshipp.com)