Mobile phones are a great way for us to keep in touch with our family anytime and anywhere. However, when is the right time to let your child have a phone? Read on for some helpful advice from an independent day school in Abingdon…
You may be surprised to learn that there is no legal age to own a mobile phone. Therefore, the right age to allow your child to have their first phone is really up to you as parents. To help you decide if your child is ready to own their first phone, ask yourself these two questions:
- Do you trust your child to use a phone sensibly?
- And are they mature enough to look after one?
It is common for parents to wait until their child starts secondary school, before they let them have a phone. At this age, children begin to make their own journeys to and from school, and socialise with friends in their spare time.
If you are considering purchasing your child’s first phone, a basic ‘feature’ phone might be a good option. This type of phone will allow your child to call or text you, without the risk of browsing the web unsupervised. Feature phones are also a cheaper alternative to smart phones, which may lessen the worry of the phone becoming lost or damaged. Alternatively, a smart phone does offer the added advantage of GPS technology. This allows parents to track their child’s location and can even help you to locate your child’s phone if it is lost or stolen.
If you decide that your child is ready to have a mobile phone, it is essential to discuss the importance of using it safely and responsibly. You should also help your child to set up their phone and add important contacts in case of an emergency. If your child will have internet access on their new phone, be sure to add any necessary parental controls and discuss online safety.
Hopefully this advice will help you to decide when your child is ready for a phone and will also help to ensure they use one safely.