Is It The Right Time To Give Your Kid A Smartphone?
Only a few years back, many parents used to ponder about the right age and the right time they should give their kids the opportunity to handle car keys. In recent times, a trickier question is doing the rounds – when is the right time to give your kid a cell phone? A cell phone gives your child uninhibited Internet access which has its pros and cons. Driving at 16 is legal in a few states, but there are no strict guidelines or a legal instruction on the appropriate age for kids to own cell phones.
It’s a matter of debate as many children are given easy access to a cell phone at quite early an age. Studies reveal that, on an average basis, children nowadays receive a cell phone at around a meager age of 10. Some experts on internet safety also reveal that children at an even younger age of 7 get a hold of cell phones easily these days. Though, some parents have an adamant insistence on forbidding their young kids from having a cell phone, maintaining a strict stipulation for the little ones in their family. The rule is simple – the kids get access to a cell phone if they are in high school and only after they imbibe restraint and realize the worth of communicating face-to-face.
There’s No Perfect Age
Many experts agree that though it’s entirely up to parents to decide on the right time and age, there isn’t a magic number, and a kid’s maturity and responsibility level matters more than anything. So how do you determine whether it’s the right time? On asking, many experts disclose that the longer a parent waits to hand over a cell phone to their kids, the better. Some experts marked the age of 12 as appropriate, while others stuck to 14, but agreed upon the latter as being a safer option. The reason is simple. Cell phones can prove to be a big distraction from schoolwork, and kids become more prone to child predators, online bullying, and other harmful online activities. Simply put, a child won’t get exposed to the dark side without it.
Half Of Kids With Cell Phones Are Already Addicted
According to a research, 70,000 children were surveyed over a period of 18 months, and facts reveal that on an average, kids started watching sensitive material online as young as 8, adult chatting initiated in the fifth grade, and addiction to explicit materials took them over at around the age of 11. A separate poll among 1,240 parents and their children had 50% of them admitting their addiction to cell phones.
Pros And Cons
Cell phones do have their own benefits. Accessing educational tools through powerful apps, connecting with pals through chat apps, and an ocean of information and knowledge on the net are all the pros associated with it. But, a kid stands at the doorstep of darkness, too. Adult chatting apps, distracting games, and of course, social media sites where they can become a victim of online bullying easily, are the dangers that one can’t turn a blind eye on. If not a cell phone, a tablet or a computer can do the damage, too. Parental supervision is the order of the day and is the best way you can keep a track of your kid’s activities.
Realization of Responsibilities
At the end of the day, parents decide when their children are in need of a cell phone. But, it is essential to dip your toe in the water before giving your kid an access to one. Start off with phones through which your child can make calls or send texts only. This way you can assess whether they are able to handle the device in a responsible way. Even when you gift your kid a new one, you can set some limits – signing a contract which will bar them from crossing the boundary, which, if disregarded, will have many consequences. That’s a strict but effective way to keep a tab on them.
And of course, a time-to-time supervision from parents can ensure that their kid won’t tread on the wrong path. Set some rules and stipulations to keep a check on their usage. Accessing the Internet has many benefits. But there are disadvantages galore, too. It is tough to bring your child back once they’ve had a chance to explore the Internet. So ask them to look before they leap. Be with them, and guide them.
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