It used to be that parents would wonder at what age to give their kids the car keys. But nowadays the biggest question has become what age should they give their kids a smartphone? According to Influencecentral.com the average age a child receives their first mobile device is 10 years old. But how do you know if they’re ready for one?
Getting a smartphone is like a rite of passage for children. And the age in which you give them one isn’t as important as their maturity level. While some experts believe high school to be a good age for a first smartphone, after they’ve learned restraint and the value of face-to-face communication, others say you can test their responsibility by starting off with a phone that can only send text messages and place phone calls.
Once you hand them their own smartphone start by limiting their screen time to just two hours a night. And experts say it’s best to keep devices out of a child’s bedroom. They should use them in family areas where you can monitor them. Because, according to internet safety expert Jesse Weinberger, who surveyed 70,000 students, on average, pornography consumption began when children turned eight, sexting began at age 10 and pornography addiction began around age 11.
Weinberger recommends parents make their child sign a contract that clearly outlines the rules of using a smartphone. It should include promises never to take nude selfies and never to try to meet strangers from the internet along with other limits, like no smartphones at the dinner table or in the classroom. If your child breaks the rules, take their phone away.
Qustodio is a free app that lets parents monitor their children’s text messages, disable apps at certain times of day or even shut off a smartphone remotely. While that can be an aggressive approach to restricting a child’s smartphone, Weinberger said her job as a parent was not to make her children like her.
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