Check These Signs To See If They’re Ready
Kids are starting to ask for smartphones from a younger age than ever before, and even elementary school can now been seen with their own Instagram accounts and watching YouTube videos from the palm of their hands. However, are children this young really ready for the responsibility of having their own cell?
The pressure on parents to buy them their own cell phone can be very wearing, but it’s important to not just give in to the pester power. Instead, check the signs to make sure that they really are mature enough to understand what having a smartphone really means before you head to the store. Here are some clues that your youngster should probably wait a while longer before you let them get their way.
Your Child Is Too Impulsive
It can take time to develop the ability to make appropriate decisions in different social situations. If your child is too impulsive, reacts angrily to provocation or struggles to apologize it’s time to hold off on getting them a phone until they can develop these social skills and implement them consistently.
Your Child Has Never Used A Phone Before
A surprising number of children who have a smartphone had never used a phone before they were given one. A certain amount of phone etiquette is required, and this needs to be learned and practiced first before buying them their first handset. Let your child borrow your phone for a few hours and discuss the important skills that they need to know. Show them how to answer a call, how to make one, how to leave a voicemail message and how to send and receive texts. By modeling good phone user behavior you’ll be setting your child in good stead.
Your Child Will React Badly To Inappropriate Content
Unfortunately, handing over a smartphone to your child is giving them access to all kinds of inappropriate content such as pornography. If you think that your child is unable to cope with potentially seeing this type of content, albeit by accident, and will be upset by potentially disturbing images, they aren’t ready to be given a phone yet.
You Haven’t Discussed A Cell Phone Openly With Your Child
Many conversations with kids about cell phones tend to revolve around whether or not they’re allowed to have one, however a frank and open discussion is the best way to find out whether they’re truly ready for the responsibility. Rather than leaping in judgmentally, it’s best to talk about what they want to do when they have a phone – will they be playing games? Texting their friends? Using apps? Going on social media sites?
Your Child Can’t Be Relied Upon To Look After A Phone
Smartphones are expensive. Even a second-hand model can cost more than you’d be willing to lose, so if your child is always losing things or dropping things and breaking them, it might be a good idea to wait for a while until they’re better able to take responsibility for valuable possessions.
Your Child Hasn’t Reached Independence Milestones Yet
One child may be ready for a smartphone at the age of 10, another might take another two or three years before they’re mature enough to handle the responsibility. One way to determine whether or not your youngster is ready is when they have met certain independence milestones that show they’re ready to take on further responsibility in their lives. If you child can make their own lunch without needing help, can walk home alone from school, spend a short period alone in the house, ride on public transport independently and do their homework without being nagged and reminded, they could well be ready for their first handset.
The most important thing to rely on is your own opinion. As a parent, you know your child best, and if you feel that your child is ready for a smartphone, go right ahead and buy them one. Otherwise, stand firm and wait until you’re convinced that they’re mature enough to handle everything that being a cell phone owner means.
Taken from the June 2018 issue of Geek Parenting, out now!