With your kids back in school, you may be hearing about their friend’s shiny new smartphones. While other moms may be ready to give their children the responsibility of a smartphone, you shouldn’t feel pressured. Knowing when kids should get smartphones is a tough parental decision that is not to be taken lightly.
A recent study by Panda Security revealed that 40% of Americans think kids should wait until middle school (age 11-13) before getting a smartphones. 33.2% said that parents should wait until high school. This data supports the push for parents to “Wait Until 8th .”
The main concern that was cited in relation to kids having a smartphone is too much screen time. This is understandable, when it’s reported that those ages 8 to 12 are spending an average of 6 hours a day using digital media. Teens are spending even more, with an average of nine hours a day.
To combat this, we need to be teaching proper smart phone and tech use. Some tips to consider are:
- Start by giving your child a cell phone that doesn’t have Internet access.
- Choose when to give them a phone based on how mature you think they are rather than when everyone else their age is getting one.
- Openly discuss the dangers of smartphones.
- Create a family contract that establishes smartphone rules and sets a consequence for breaking the contract.
- Set parental controls on the device.
- Monitor your kids’ screen time (most devices have a feature that tracks this).
- Set aside family time without technology to encourage human interaction and non-digital learning.
For more information on when kids should get a smartphone and the effects it will have at each age, read through THIS infographic.