Kids these days have the privilege of being born in the most technologically advanced society ever. A decade ago, the concepts of Uber and Snapchat would have sounded ludicrous and seen as some feature in a Sci-fi movie. Today, they are a part and parcel of everyday life.
There is a running joke online that today’s teenagers and young adults are the last generations that had their baby photos taken with actual physical cameras and not phones. This is true to some extent and is just a sign o the world they are now entering.
In this day and age, not having a smartphone is like a digital disability. everything from educational videos to school applications is done via the web and not being familiar with Internet use is essentially shorting yourself on the foot.
Once upon a time, a young child handling technology by himself or herself was seen as a spectacular feat. These days, it’s a given, with many kids getting their first smartphones as early as 6. There is a wealth of benefit in being technologically savvy, but how soon?
The debate on when to get a child their first phone isn’t a new one. A decade ago, there was the fear of children using their phones yo enable bad behavior. Now, with social media and so many new features, that fear has reached fever pitch.
So, when should ago child get the first smartphone?
The biggest bone of contention is that the child might get in trouble online or be at risk of being stalked by online predators.
A smartphone, like everything else entrusted to a child, is a responsibility. A key factor is how the child had behaved in the past. Has the child been responsible with pocket money so far? What about chores? If the child has displayed good behavior in the past, it is a strong indicator that the child will be responsible with a smartphone.
If you are still worried about your child misusing their smartphone, there are a lot of apps that can be used to set their phone to parental advisory settings – this blocks all adult content from being accessed. If you suspect that the child might be up to suspicious activity, some parental apps enable you to read the messages sent and received on the phone. Keep in mind that this should be used in only the most serious cases. Part of giving a smartphone to a child is teaching them to be responsible, and some level of independence is needed for that.
The primary requirement for owning a smartphone is responsibility and maturity. Once a child has shown both and had a genuine need for it, a smartphone can be given.