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Should You or Should You Not Buy Your Kid a Cell Phone?

By Zack Morris | Aug 09, 2018 10:44 am

should kids have cell phone

Kids dig technology. To be specific here, they love cell phones. Maybe your 6-year-old son already wants a cell phone. As a parent or guardian, you probably already know that buying your kid a cell phone will open up a whole new world for him. That world has the internet in it. While the internet is not the only risk kids face which can mess up their lives, it technically is the scariest risk considering the harmful content the kids may end up consuming.

When a kid asks for his/her first cell phone, the first question that comes into your mind is, should kids have cell phone? Determining when to purchase kids first phone can be a difficult task. We will help you figure out the answer to the question "should kids have phones?" in this article.

Why Do Kids Love Cell Phones?

To a parent, a cell phone is just a device. However, your kids will look at their phone differently. They are likely to see the cell phone as the first step towards independence. One of the things teenagers value the most is independence. One more way your kids might look at their cell phone is as a status symbol among their buddies. Wanting to have independence and also be popular among their agemates will force kids to demand mobile phones. 

At What Age Should A Child Get A Cell Phone?

should kids have cell phone

This is always a tough question to answer. After all, the answers may vary. A question that would be much simpler to answer would be, should an 11-year-old have a phone? Or should a 12-year-old have a phone? The answer to these simpler questions is supposed to be a NO. However, if as a parent you do decide to get an 11-year-old or a 12-year-old a cell phone, you will have to be around to provide the necessary parental guidance.

When trying to answer the question "should children have cell phones?", their age is the most important factor. Any kid does not deserve to get a cell phone if he or she is not old enough to handle things which arise as a result of owning the cell phone. One of the things which might arise as a result of owning a phone is cyber-bullying. Any kid who is under the age of 16 years is incapable of handling cyber-bullying.    Issues such as cyber-bullying are not the only concern when you are trying to answer the question of should kids have smartphones. The web has information which is both overwhelming and inappropriate especially for kids who are not old enough to make sensible decisions. Consider all the websites available online promoting nudity and pornography. Consider all the websites which promote gun violence. Do you want your underage kid to consume all that information? Your answer will probably be a no here. This raises the next question, is there an appropriate age to get your kid a cell phone?

The answer to the above question is complicated too. Generally, if your kid is above the age of 16 years he/she might have the ability to handle issues such as cyber-bullying. Therefore, buying the kid a cell phone wouldn’t be a too bad idea. However, remember cyber-bullying is not the only thing that will happen to your kid when you purchase the cell phone. Harmful content and sex predators are waiting on the other side of the internet.

As parent, having the ability to reach out to your kid any time you need to is awesome. Therefore, having the ability to talk to your kid may be a top reason why you might want to buy the kid a cell phone. Also, sometimes you may have the need to keep track of your kid’s location. If your kid is too young to handle issues such as cyber-bullying, you can find another solution to these needs. An example would be a GPS tracker. However, let’s assume you have bought kids first phone because you think they are old enough to handle issues such as cyber-bullying. So, what next?

What to Do as A Parent in the Digital Age?

parenting in the digital age

Delay Social Media

Kids will look for life on social media. The fake social appreciation they get on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook will keep them hooked. While some of the teenagers already know that social media is not the best thing that happened to them, they are also not aware of how to avoid something that got introduced into their lives so early. If you delay social media and show your kids that there is life outside social media, when they grow up, they will heart real social interactions than virtual interactions on Facebook.

Delay Smartphones

This can be connected to the first tip above for parenting in a digital world. After all, your kids will use their smartphones to access social media. When your kid owns his or her own iPhone, he will have even more freedom when accessing social media. Your kid will have the ability to engage in sexting and other harmful activities. Even though your kid may pressure you to buy him/her a smartphone as soon as he/she turns 6, resist the urge.

Control Internet Access

The Internet access is the only thing your kid needs to access content that he/she is too young to view. If your kid has no internet access, there is literally very little he or she can do with a smartphone or a computer that can harm him/her. You could keep Wi-Fi turned off until needed. You can also use third-party tools to cut the Wi-Fi connection to your kid’s smartphone alone if you need to keep the Wi-Fi on.

No Tech in the Bedroom

Good digital parenting dictates: Thou shan’t allow his/her kids to take their iPhones to the bedroom. Instead of your kid utilizing his or her sleeping time to sleep, the kid will use the tech. If you are trying to break your kid’s addiction to tech, allowing them to use their tech overnight is not gonna do you any good. Your kid might complain he/she needs the alarm. Buy a conventional alarm and give it to the kid.

Teach Yourself About Technology

Let’s be honest, you wouldn't have the ability to handle good digital parenting if you knew next to nothing about tech. You actually do not need to invest in a college degree to learn about tech for your parenting in a digital world. The information you need can be accessed via the search engines. Just use a combination of keywords which tell the search engine what you wish to learn about. Within no time, you should have millions of articles to choose from.

Set Tech Time Limits

You should make it clear about the times when your kids are allowed to use tech. Call your kids and sit them down. Let them know you are setting the screen time limits for their own good. Tell them they can access their iPhones for 30 minutes after homework and dinner. Tell them their iPhones should never be brought to the meal table. Make it clear that not following the set rules will lead to serious consequences. For example, they can lose their smartphones for a whole week.

Monitor What Your Kids are Doing on Cell Phone

Parenting in the age of digital technology does not require you to be a stalker. However, you can befriend your kids on social media just to see what they post. Talk to them if they are doing anything that does not please you.

Use Parental Controls

Parenting in the digital age is made much easier by the fact that tech devices have parental controls installed in them. For example, iOS devices will allow you to monitor the websites your kid is frequently. You can even block inappropriate websites. iOS devices let you monitor the time your kid is spending on the iOS device. Advise your kids on how to use their devices more responsibly.

Use Parental Controls Tool to Better Monitor Your Kid's First Mobile Phone

Sure, buying your kid a cell phone will make you feel like he/she is safer since you will have the ability to communicate at any time. However, your parental responsibilities will be increased by the cell phone. You will need to monitor who your kid is talking to, what he or she is checking out online, and a bunch of other things. While you can easily check your kid’s iPhone every evening, this is not a recommended move especially when your kids are teenagers. Your relationship with your kid can go from awesome to extremely shaky really quick if you keep infringing their privacy. However, a third-party tool that you can use to monitor all your kid’s iOS devices is available. The tool is known as MoniMaster.

MoniMaster Parental Control Tool, previously named Spymer, will let you check your cell phone usage without the tool being installed on the device. MoniMaster lets you view the kid’s frequently contacted list, Safari browsing history and bookmarks, the kid’s location and location history, and the data available on the device (both deleted and undeleted). MoniMaster gives you access to up to 17 apps on the kid’s iOS device. These include instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Line, etc. If you happen to notice that your kid is misusing his/her cell phone, you will be able to advise him/her before the behavior becomes worse.

should kids have cell phones

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Summary

After going through this article, you should have the answer to the question "should kids have cell phone?". Even if your kid deserves a cell phone, it does not mean that he or she has the ability to avoid the impulse to consume the wrong information. This is why parental monitoring and guidance is a requirement. Monitoring your kids remotely will work better especially if your kid is in his/her teenage years. You will have the ability to achieve remote monitoring using MoniMaster. MoniMaster is available for FREE as a trial version.     

Note: The tools introduced in this post shall be used only with the aim of parental control. Please read the End User License Agreement (EULA) carefully before downloading or installing the software. MoniMaster takes no responsibility for any illegal use of this tool.