Family Time

Should I let my child have a smart phone?

Mobile phones are a great way for us to keep in touch anytime and anywhere. This is ideal for parents who are beginning to give their teenagers a little more freedom. However, when is the right time to let your child have a phone and does it need to be a ’smart’ phone? Read on for some helpful advice from Surbiton High School.

Maturity

Did you know that there is no legal age to own a mobile phone? Therefore, the right age to allowyour 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, it is important to consider if your child is mature enough to look after one. Do you trust them to use it sensibly?

It is common for parents to wait until their children start secondary school. At this age, children begin to make their own journeys to and from school, and socialise with friends in their spare time.

Start basic

If you are considering purchasing your child’s first phone, a basic ‘feature’ phone might be a great place to start. 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. This 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. It can also help you to locate your child’s phone if it is lost or stolen.

Online safety

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 smart phone.

Sarah

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