But seriously, should children have cell phones? It’s a struggle almost every parent is dealing with; the ongoing debate over how young is too young when it comes to kids and technology. There is no denying electronics is a part of our everyday life, and your kids as well. Tablets, computers, gaming devices, and of course, cell phones.
When my son was in kindergarten, I was surprised to discover many kids in his class had their own phone. This year, he is in first grade, and he never misses a chance to rattle off the names of fellow students who have one.
The truth is, my son knows how to navigate my iPhone better than I do. He is 6 years old. SIX! It is crazy to me, since I was thrilled to finally get my own beeper in 7th grade. At the time, my mom told me it was a decision she grappled with. She wondered if I was too young to have my own beeper, which sounds funny to me now. I mean, what harm could I do with a beeper? (Now that I think about it, I do recall a few scandalous beeper codes…)
Consider this, a recent study found 56% of kids aged 8-12 have a cell phone, with 10-11 being the most common age for kids to get their first phone. 89% of those parents say they have NO regrets about their decision.
So should children have cell phones? And is there an appropriate age? For some reason, this is a tough one for many moms I know.
Here are 5 reasons I think kids should have their own phone:
1. Safety: If my son went to after-care or took a bus, he would have definitely had his own phone by now. What if the bus never showed up? Or he mistakenly got off at the wrong stop and got lost? It would give me peace of mind knowing my child could reach me anytime he needed to.
2. Responsibility: Giving a child a phone is a great way for them to learn how to take care of things. Phones are expensive and kids know it! My son may beat up his toys, but when he is playing with my iPhone, he is extra careful. They also need to make sure they check that the phone is charged and giving them limits on who they can call and how they can use it is a big responsibility.
3. Independence: Having a phone helps a child feel independent. They don’t need to rely on others if they feel like they need to get a hold of family members. If they are in a situation they don’t like, they can always call someone.
4. Quality of Life: Giving a kid a phone makes everyone’s life easier. Pickups are more coordinated and family members can always be in the loop. No more confusion over who is picking up who, and if soccer practice gets out early, your kids no longer have to wait around since you are just a phone call away.
5. It’s Inevitable: Cell phones have become commonplace. They are a huge part of the world we live in.
So whether you get your child a phone now or later, it’s going to happen. There are so many different options when it comes to cell phones. If you are not ready to get your child a full blown smart phone, you could always look into simpler options. For example, a phone that only has minutes on it, without any texting or web capabilities. Do your research, set limits, teach your kids the right and wrong ways to use a cell phone, and get ready to add your kids to your contact list!
Questions about how social media may affect the way you parent? Check this out.