There’s no doubt that technology is a huge part of our lives and has been for quite a long time. While we didn’t have a lot of this technology growing up, our children are being raised in the age of ever-advancing technology with new products being released constantly. Most schools now have a laptop or Chromebook for every kid in their classroom and the majority of homework is done using Google Classroom.
It’s no secret that kids learn from our example. They’re sponges and they’re absorbing every single thing we do and say. They’ve seen us using our phones and probably have even played some games on them from time to time; our kids can occasionally navigate our phones better than we can.
I’m sure if you have a child 10 and above they’ve asked for a cell phone, am I right? In fact, I believe I read somewhere that age 10 is the age that most children do get a cell phone. To be completely honest, my daughter got her first smartphone at age 10 and I don’t regret my decision. However, I had my own reasons for getting her a smartphone and my daughter was definitely more mature than other girls her age. I felt that she was mature enough to be responsible with technology such as a smartphone and I was right. But how young is too young?
Every day I hear about children as young as 7 or 8 getting their own smartphones and I’m absolutely floored. Why does a child that young need a smartphone when they are still learning to read and write basic words? Do they have a smartphone just so that they can play games? Isn’t that what game consoles are for? Sure cell phones are very important for social reasons but what 7 or 8-year-old needs to be that social outside of school and playdates?
Personally, I feel that maturity is a huge part of a parent’s decision on whether or not they should get their children a smartphone. Is your child responsible enough? Are they street smart? Are they independent enough? If a child is a troublemaker who instigates trouble, I probably would wait on getting them a cell phone for safety reasons. Though it is a personal parental decision as to when your child gets a cell phone. Parents know their children better than anyone else does and they know when the time is right.
Middle School is a very important time in a child’s life and I believe once a child enters middle school they are at the age where a cell phone is more acceptable. Socialization and friends are more important in 5-8th grade and kids find it more important at that age to talk to their friends outside of school, though there are many risks. One of the main risks of a middle schooler having a cell phone is cliques and cyberbullying. In fact, my twelve-year-old was recently cyberbullied by a bunch of girls who she thought were her friends. While this is something that I wanted to try to avoid and protect her from I do feel that she handled it well and came to me for help, which is something that I am appreciative of. I think if you are making the decision to get your child a cell phone you should also teach them about cyber safety and proper cell phone etiquette.
How young do you think is too young for a cell phone? When did your children get cell phones or at what age will they be getting cell phones?