What's the deal with kids and phones?

What do I need to know about my child’s first phone?

Getting a first phone is an exciting new journey for your child – but giving them a phone doesn’t mean giving them free reign in this digital world.

When is the right time for kids to get their first phone?

While the average age for a child to get their first smartphone is 10, consider the maturity your kids are showing before taking the technology plunge. If you don’t feel they’re ready just yet, let them know what you expect to see to indicate they are ready – chores, caring for their belongings etc.

Here are a few simple rules for your kids and their new phone:

Bedtime – Your child has one and so should their phone.

Manners – Phones seem to turn kids into zombies. A powerful antidote to this is manners. You don’t look at your phone when someone is talking to you, and you don’t bring your phone to the table.

Technology-free time – Insist on respect for family and social time. Maintain a standard where technology is not a part of every occasion.

Communication – Foster an open line of communication with your child about online content. This encourages your child to have a conversation with you if they see/receive anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Stay engaged, learn alongside your child, and put healthy boundaries in place to ensure their safety and enjoyment.

Photo by  Pavan Trikutam  on  Unsplash

What sort of phone should I get my child?

Some families start with a ‘shared’ phone that belongs to the whole family. This phone is used primarily for safety, so a child can access help or transport when needed. Start with a phone that has no or limited access to the internet. Prepaid plans are a great way to start. Negotiate how many minutes and texts they require each month, and find a plan that suits.

What are some rules to put in place?

Start as soon as your child gets their first phone. More is better than less at this point – you can always take restrictions away, but it’s harder to add extra ones later.