As your children get older, you will be gearing up for the inevitable question – “can I have a phone?” There is no set age for when your child should have a phone, so it can be difficult to make the decision. You will more than likely find yourself asking “Is my child ready for a phone?”
Children are starting to carry their own phones younger, and there are many reasons for this. Allowing your child to have their own phone will be dependent on their maturity and personality, and not so much their age.
There are certain signs to look for that should indicate whether your child is ready for a phone or not.
Here is a checklist of what to consider when deciding whether or not to give your child a phone.
Is Your Child Responsible Enough?
- Will your child keep the phone safe throughout the day?
- Will your child remember to keep the phone charged and always ready to use?
- Do you trust your child to keep track of the phone’s limits on minutes and data, and to respect these limits?
- Will your child keep the phone safe and avoid damaging it?
Does Your Child Know How To Use A Phone?
- Does your child know how to check for and respond to messages?
- Will your child follow the rules set out for phone usage, both at school and home?
- Will your child be able to self-regulate when their phone should not be in use? Such as in a movie theatre or at dinner.
- Does your child understand the dangers of the internet, and how to identify harassment and inappropriate contact? To better teach your child about internet safety, read here.
Will Your Child Use Their Phone To Communicate Effectively?
- Can your child read well, and plan and explain things well in writing?
- Is your child able to communicate and follow a conversation without the use of body language to pick up on meaning?
- Does your child know how to only send important information? To avoid sending long, unnecessary texts and voicemails.
- Can your child understand abbreviations such as BRB or LOL, and know how to use them appropriately?
Does Your Child Actually Need A Phone?
- Does your child travel between family homes often and need to communicate with you or other relatives?
- Is your child involved in different afterschool activities?
- If your child is in a carpool, does the leader ask children to notify parents if they are running late?
- Does your child’s teacher request that they send them texts if they have homework questions?
- If they are a part of sports teams, does their coach require them to be reachable by phone before or after practices?
Are You Ready For Your Child To Have A Phone?
- Do you have enough time to teach your child how to use their phone properly, and to teach them how to use their phone safely?
- Are you ready to set and enforce limits on the phone? This includes disciplining your child if necessary and taking the phone away if need be.
- Can you afford to pay for their phone and phone plan?
Answering these questions will give you a good indication as to whether or not your child should have a phone!