When is the Best Time to Get a Smart Phone for My Child?
When you’re considering buying a smartphone for your child, you’re investing in a powerful communication device, with 24/7 access to text, videos and images. So it is important to seriously consider all aspects of both the purchase and how you are going to control their usage.
When my kids were at a very early age and accessing YouTube and playing online games on our family desktop computer, I had to establish limits and boundaries. My wife and I imposed all kinds of limits including no internet use on weekdays, unless it was a homework assignment, and absolutely no online gaming until the weekend.
Times have changed, and so has technology. My kids don’t access our old desktop computer anymore as they have their choice of smart phone, tablet or laptop.
When it comes to technology, I’m probably more extreme in my approach to parenting than most people of my generation. But apparently, I’m not alone. Tech founders and wealthy parents working in Silicon Valley, such as Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs, understand the addictive power of smartphones, tablets and computers, and they openly talk about limiting their children’s access to these gadgets.
So before you purchase a smartphone for your child, here are some things to consider:
- Are you prepared for the additional expense of a mobile phone contract?
- Are your kids mature and responsible? For example, can they be trusted not to use their phone in class, or to not let their device interfere with their homework?
- Do your kids really “need” a smart phone for safety and communication purposes? Or do they “want” one because it’s the “coolest” thing to have?
- Are your kids forgetful and tend to lose things? If so, expect them to lose their phone too!
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