Giving Your Child a Smartphone

Reagan Fausett
when should kids have a phone

Making the decision to get your child a phone isn’t easy. There are so many questions to ask yourself. Is your child ready for the responsibility of a phone? What kind of phone should they get? Should you regulate their use?

Let’s take a closer look at some of these questions to help you figure out what’s best for your child.

At What Age Should Kids Get a Phone?

One of the first questions parents ask is when should kids have a phone? What age should kids get a phone? While organizations like the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have presented guidelines for screen usage based on age, there isn’t a cut and dry conclusion about the best age to get a child a smartphone. 
However, James Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, offers this bit of advice: “A kid’s age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level.” Jerry Bubrick, psychologist at Child Mind Institute, concurs adding, “You could have a really immature 15-year-old who’s acting out on the phone, but you give it to him because he’s 15, whereas a really socially mature 12-year-old could handle it better.”

Benefits of Kids Having Phones Early

While there are some reasons to be nervous about giving your child a phone at a young age, there can be many benefits to your child having a phone while they’re young:

  • Children can learn to use tech early. At some point your child will own a smartphone. It may be as an older teenager or young adult, but eventually they will be using one daily and will need to learn how to use it. This includes everything from using it for work communication  to making friends. It’s essential to learn those good technology habits early on.

They can learn good tech habits while young. When you feel your child is ready to handle the responsibility of having a smartphone, teach them safe and healthy technology habits that will help them throughout their lives. Learning how to use a phone safely now will help them carry those habits into the future.

How to Block Inappropriate Content

There are a few ways you can protect your child from harmful content online:

  • Install a Parental Control App on Your Child’s Device. Though parental control apps aren’t foolproof, they can help your child stay safe on the Internet by blocking dangerous websites and content.
  • Get an Especially Designed Phone For Kids. Kid safe phones, like those at Troomi, help protect your child from inappropriate content on an OS level. Protection on the software level makes accessing restricted apps or content far more difficult while still providing plenty of phone apps for child safety. These software-level protections are available on phones like those from Troomi and can help ensure the safety of your child while they use their smartphone.

Now that you’re equipped with the when, how, and why of giving your child a smartphone, you’re ready to start applying it to your own family. Remember that no two children are alike. Though a certain age or type of protection might work for one, it may not work for another, so don’t be afraid to rethink and revise your approach. And don’t forget to check out Troomi for more information on how to teach your kids good technology habits.