Wednesday, February 3, 2021

When Is The Right Time To Give Your Child A Cell Phone?

Children are great at observation, and even if they don’t quite understand everything going on around them, they will certainly notice that the majority of adults – and some kids – have their own cell phones. They will, at first, be curious about what these things do and, then when they understand the way they work, they will want one for themselves. This can lead to very young children asking for their own phone, and parents becoming confused as to what they should do because, in many cases, the parents themselves won’t have come into contact with a cell phone until their teens or later. Essentially, this is the first generation who have grown up with cell phones since birth, so knowing how best to deal with the issue is difficult, to say the least. 


If you’re a parent who is unsure about when the right time to give your child a cell phone is, assuming you want them to have one at all, read on for some useful tips to help you decide.

Do They Need A Phone? 

Most children are going to want a phone, but do they need a phone? These are two different things, and it’s important to understand that want has nothing to do with this decision you have to make; need has a lot to do with it. 


Some kids will live in situations that might make cell phones a convenient option. This could be the fact that they split their time between two households and they need to keep in touch with their friends and family regularly. They might use public transport on their own a lot to get to school or other classes. They might have a health condition and a phone will help them stay safer. Take the ‘need’ aspect into account before the ‘want’ aspect and you can determine whether it’s vital or not. 



Each child will develop at a different rate, and a seven-year-old might be a lot more mature than an 11-year-old, despite their ages. This is another factor to think about when deciding whether your child is old enough for a phone. It’s sometimes less about their age and more about their maturity. 


Ask yourself if your child is responsible; can they take care of their possessions or do they often lose things or break things? Are they able to follow the rules or do they push against boundaries? This can certainly help to inform your decision. Remember, you can always start temporarily, limiting the time they spend on the phone and making sure they know that, if they misbehave, you will take it away again. Click here to read how to monitor your child’s cell phone to ensure they are following the rules. 



Cell phones can be expensive. Even if the initial device is relatively cheap, the ongoing costs such as a contract or data can quickly add up. No matter how much your child might want a phone, and no matter how mature they might be, if it is going to be too much for the family to afford, then it will have to wait; there is no point in getting into debt over a cell phone. 


If this is the case, explain it to the child and see if there is anything they can do to help. They might be able to do some extra chores or use birthday or Christmas money or save up their pocket money so that they can put some money towards the phone; if it’s something they really want, they will happily comply. 

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