Smartphones for Children: What’s the Right Age?

A young boy watching a smartphone screen.

The world is ever-evolving, and technology is used in our daily life. (Image: via envatoelements)

Smartphones for children are a terrific way to reach out to children as they grow more autonomous. After all, real-time information on their location and itinerary changes can’t be seen at a glance.

According to a Today article about how widespread smartphones are among different age groups, “37 percent of 11-year-olds have a smartphone, and 91 percent of 14-year-olds have one.” The pandemic changed how children learn and spend their free time and has reportedly increased screen time across all ages.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

Parents used to drag their Gen X children away from the television. Internet for Millennials was limited to stationary desktop computers. But, now that technology is so prevalent, setting and maintaining reasonable boundaries around it is much more challenging. The proliferation of smartphones, in particular, is a severe issue, and parents are frequently asked: “At what age should a child receive a smartphone?”

Smartphones provide unrestricted internet access, which has advantages and disadvantages. Parents must decide if their children are mature enough to reap the benefits while avoiding the negatives. This article will clarify and help you answer the question about the right age for giving your child their first smartphone.

Advantages of smartphones for children

Obtaining a cell phone or smartphone has become a watershed moment for many children, allowing them to blend in with their peers while gaining their parent’s trust because of their ability to reach them and monitor their whereabouts (if needed).

Technology allows a child to remain competitive in an increasingly connected culture. Regarding safety, cell phones can help you find your child using the GPS function in an emergency. Security is essential for adolescent drivers, but there is a case for younger children to have their devices. And, as your child may have pointed out, your smartphone data plan most likely qualifies for a couple of extra lines.

Children are more active than ever. They travel, meet up, ad explore. So being able to know their whereabouts or call them at heart's desire is comforting to many parents. And it's possible thanks to a smartphone for children.
Children are more active than ever. They travel, meet up, ad explore. So being able to know their whereabouts or call them at heart’s desire is comforting to many parents. And it’s possible thanks to a smartphone for your child. (Image: via envatoelements)

Besides security and safety, there may be other reasons that seem to recommend a smartphone for children

  • Keeping your child from feeling alone when many of their peers have smartphones (but succumbing to peer pressure isn’t always a good thing)
  • Teach your child responsibility by teaching them how to care for their phone, prevent losing it, and remain within the limits of their mobile phone plan’s voice, data, and texting minutes.

Disadvantages of your child’s smartphone

With so many children and teenagers carrying cell phones, families are wrestling with some drawbacks of the constant distraction caused by technology.

Here are some of the most significant concerns regarding children and smartphones.

Concerns about health

Cell phones and Smartphones are adding to the difficulty as if getting your child to bed wasn’t tricky enough. Studies have identified a significant correlation between using cell phones and obtaining less sleep in adolescents. According to a 2014 survey, 80 percent of children use their phones while they should be asleep. Teens who do not get enough sleep may do poorly in school and are more likely to become obese.

Distraction

These devices may be a source of distraction for a child. Of course, we all know that cell phones are a nuisance for drivers, but they may also be a significant distraction for a child crossing the street on foot, resulting in more accidents and injuries.

Problems with behavior

Cell phones can put your youngster in danger of getting in trouble (after all, there isn’t a phone for children only) if they send, share, or receive indecent images. A youngster may also make prank calls or be accused if a classmate steals their phone and makes foul calls on their behalf.

A child's developing brain can get addicted to the screen experience, making it harder for parents to set time limits on using smartphones and pads.
A child’s developing brain can get addicted to the screen experience, making it harder for parents to set time limits on using smartphones and pads. (Image: via envatoelements)

Making the choice

It would be best to determine whether your youngster is ready for a smartphone. Before purchasing a child’s phone, ensure that your youngster can handle the responsibilities. Consider imposing restrictions on your younger child’s cell phone use. As an example:

  • Purchase a pre-paid package with a limited number of minutes to avoid incurring high costs.
  • Look for a phone with solid constraints, such as the ability to disable online access and text messaging. Some phones also let you limit both incoming and outgoing calls to specific numbers.
  • Give your child the phone only at rare times, such as when they are unlikely to be near another phone.
  • Install a GPS tracker app on your phone or compel your child to reveal their whereabouts so you can quickly locate them when needed.
  • Discuss major mobile phone concerns, including cyberbullying, the perils of distracted driving, cell phone etiquette, and school cell phone policies.

What is the best first cell phone for a child?

According to online reviews, there are five categories in which a phone stands out due to a feature that puts it above the rest in that category.

The categories are:

  • Overall
  • Young children
  • Big children
  • Safety
  • Durability

Best overall child’s smartphone: VTech KidiBuzz 3

The KidiCom Chat app on the VTech KidiBuzz 3 allows a child to share photos, videos, text, and voice messages with girlfriends, boyfriends, and family members. This child’s cell phone is not just smart. It’s also easy to use.

Best cellphone for young children: Gizmo Watch 2

According to safe wise, “the Verizon GizmoWatch 2 is an excellent choice for a child who is too young for a phone, but still requires a way to contact their parents. It also helps parents monitor their child’s newly found independence with GPS features.”

Best smartphone for older children: Apple iPhone 8

This is a more advanced children’s phone solution. First, you’ll need to ensure your child has their own Apple ID. An Apple ID is the account that you use with messages, access the App Store, and other Apple services. It will also allow you to access features like sharing location. You and your child can then share your whereabouts and even open maps to get the fastest route to one another.

Apple offers child account restrictions where you can restrict anything from an app to URLs.

Best child’s smartphone for safety: KidsConnect KC2

The KidsConnect KC2 is a type of tracker phone. Your child has three buttons on it with pre-saved numbers for fast dialing. This child’s phone is more of a parent’s “All In One Security Solution.” The GeoFencing feature included allows parents to set 5 predetermined geographical areas. Parents will get an alert if their child enters or leaves a site.

Most durable smartphone: Palm

While the Palm is not directly made for a child, like the iPhone8, due to its super simplistic, trim, and durable features, it is the perfect smartphone for little hands and small pockets. In addition, it’s about the size of a credit card and dust and waterproof.

Conclusion

Smartphones can expose children to toxic things online, like cyberbullying, adult content, wrong information, the mind-warping deception of social media, and more.

But on the other hand, giving a child the trust and guidance at a younger age may mature them sooner and give them the necessary moral and conscious filter to circumvent the pitfalls of the internet.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest

Recommended Stories

Statue of Chinese alchemist and explorer Xu Fu in Wakayama, Japan.

3 Famous Chinese People Enshrined in Japanese Shrines

Traditionally, Japanese people have great respect for those who are capable or have made outstanding ...

Productivity going up.

Stop Wasting Your Time and Start Doing This

The way you use your time has a significant influence on your capacity to achieve, ...

Pink lotus flower in bloom with planet Earth and flower of life illustration along with fractals and nebulae drawings.

Ancient Chinese Mathematicians With the Power of Divination – Part 1 

There are many mystical and even magical aspects of ancient Chinese mathematicians. Anecdotes of them ...

Wooden emas at a Japanese shrine.

Japanese Shrines Vandalized by Pro-China Forces

In many Shinto and Buddhist shrines, you’ll find racks of emas — small wooden boards ...

Continous-wave lasing.

Continuous-Wave Lasing of Deep-Ultraviolet Laser Diode

A research group led by 2014 Nobel laureate Hiroshi Amano at Nagoya University’s Institute of ...

A cutting laser.

Gamma-Ray Laser Moves a Step Closer to Reality

A physicist at the University of California, Riverside, has performed calculations showing hollow spherical bubbles ...

A sunset with clouds.

The 8 Divinations and Wisdom of Life in Zhouyi

Zhouyi, which is believed to be the oldest text and is named after the Zhou ...

Allosaurus jimmadseni.

New Species of Allosaurus Discovered in Utah

A remarkable new species of meat-eating dinosaur has been unveiled at the Natural History Museum ...

A herbal apothecary.

A Famous Medicinal Herb Merchant in Chang’an During the Tang Dynasty

In the mid-period of the Tang Dynasty, there was a herb merchant named Song Qing ...

Send this to a friend