Children. Smartphone. What age?

108 posts in this topic

What's your opinion, fellow parents, about the age at which is ok to let children having their own smartphone?
My child is 10. Never had her own smartphone yet, now complaining about it. I would say she's good at interacting with people. She's good at having friends. Fair amount of outdoor and physical exercise. I'm scared thinking about cyberbulliyng etc. Female, so maybe more vulnerablle. And ethnic minority (Dad caucasian, Mum far East), so maybe yet even more vulnerable.
Thanks,
Alberto

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Greetings. Get your lil girl her phone post haste. She’s past ready. The fact she is complaining should let you know she is ready. Give her the ball and let her score. The enjoyment I had of watching my daughter get a phone, etc. etc. is worth the initial angst. It all works itself out. Good luck. 

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Our daughter is 12. She wants a Smartphone but we've said not until she's responsible enough to deal with everything that comes with it - social media, data management, security etc. Kids don't need a Smartphone, a Dumbphone will do if you want them to have the ability to stay in contact. Our biggest concern is the potential bullying plus all the shit they might find on the internet and there does seem to be some correlation to Smartphone use and behaviour.

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I'm not at that stage yet, as my daughter is far too young.  But I am aware that this decision will appear in the future so have been thinking about it a bit myself so am interested in this thread.

 

I was talking to somebody a couple of years ago who had teenage kids.  He said that when he went to parent evenings he was amazed that parents didn't even know what instagram, whatsapp etc. were and had no control on what their kids were doing.  Let alone being able to control it.

He said that he had rules in place for his kids, and some things he said made sense.

 

1)  Lay ground rules.  Make it clear what they are and are not allowed to do with this phone and on the phone.  

2)  Make sure they are clear about what cyber bullying is and why it is bad.  

3)  Make sure they are clear about privacy of others and not sharing photos of others without their permission etc.   E.g. If you receive a picture of a school friend (half) naked and share it then they can be prosecuted for distributing child pornography! 

 

4)  As part of the rules make it clear that you MUST have the passwords and access to all of their accounts.  Social Media, email etc.  Make sure it is clear that you won't be spying on them, but it is just in case and for their protection.

5)  Make sure that you have parental controls on the device and when they use wifi at home that you have some level of control as well.  And that they are not allowed to disable them for any reason.

6)  Explain to them things around not accepting friend requests from people they didn't know personally, have never met etc.  Privacy settings for things they post in social media

7)  Make sure it is clear that any breach of these rules means cancellation of the phone contract and that the phone will be removed permanently! 

 

Other ideas:

Make them pay towards their usage can help to teach them fiscal responsibility.  But also maybe an idea to always cover the costs to call you, partner etc. so that they know that you are always there for them without hesitation.

 

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4 hours ago, French bean said:

 Our biggest concern is the potential bullying

 

Also the potential bulling by her peers if she is the only one without a phone.

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There are apps that most parents even know about where you can send messages without the recipient being able to see who it came from.  These have been used for cyberbullying.  Also snapchat where the messages delete after a certain time unless you purposely  save them.  Plenty of kids don't tell their parents they are being bullied and plenty of parents have had a shock after checking their kids phone.  So if you think she's ready, get her the phone but keep tabs on it.

 

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Dont do it. Get her a flip phone or an old nokia. It changes the reward center in the brain and effects how children interact with other children. Theres all sorts of negative issues that come with smart phones. I dont think its a good ideal to do until she is more mature.

 

It's 'digital heroin': How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies

 

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2 hours ago, Kommentarlos said:

 

Also the potential bulling by her peers if she is the only one without a phone.

She isn't without a phone, she has a Nokia Dumbphone. There is some mickey taking but that tends to be by the ones who look down on anyone who hasn't got an Apple Iphone. Anyway it's potentially far less than cyberbullying. We've already moved her to another school because of the Retards in her former class.

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12 hours ago, Gambatte said:

I'm scared thinking about cyberbulliyng etc

And not about real bullying? Wow.

 

I did not have own computer (and Internet connection was a luxury), but I often stayed with a friend who did. We chatted on various online chats and forums, I got own account and an E-Mail. Cyberbullying did not exist back then but if it did you see how lack of own smartphone could not prevent it.

 

Eduction and trust, not censorship and control, is a way to go.

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16

 

Mine have all waited until then for a smartphone, and only kid#1 had a dumbphone earlier. We live close to our schools, and we have a family not-so-smart phone which they take on school trips or for dodgy journeys etc.

 

Kid#4 turns 16 mid November, so he'll get his and all of us will have a phone.

 

Reason for the wait - it is not necessary and is addictive. In the last two kids classes there have been serious issues around the phones, involving the police - kids really don't need that stuff in their lives. I did allow kid#3 to load her class whatsapp onto my phone so that she wouldn't miss important messages, but really they just mess about. 

 

Downsides of waiting - it does make them 'different' and perhaps people will be mean about that, but this is not their problem - there are and will always be many things accepted by other kids/families which do not have a place within our values, and 'going with the flow' in order to be accepted is not something I would teach my kids, except when it really doesn't matter. So that is not necessarily a downside.

                  - there are things they are not able so easily to join in without whatsapp - meet ups, activities etc. hence kid#3 had that on my phone. It is handy for that stuff.

 

 

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If anything type of phone you have has replaced the type of trainers kids wore to school. There'll always be something that will be the 'In' thing to have. The problem with smart phones is not the phone but what can be recieved by them.

 

18 minutes ago, kiplette said:

                  - there are things they are not able so easily to join in without whatsapp - meet ups, activities etc. hence kid#3 had that on my phone. It is handy for that stuff.

 It happened to me, I didn't have Whatsapp on my phone and felt like I was uncontactable, pretty shit really where your decision not to have something reduces your participation in things and you end up feeling distant or even excluded. Especially so for a child.

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My grandson got his phone at 10 as will his younger sister. The parents put a limit on amount of use. They were visiting us the other week and the kid was bored - old people, cake and coffee situation. He asked his dad if he could study on his phone. I checked and sure enough he was reviewing english and latin words. Later, at the restaurant, the kids played Uno and some other game with their mom and other oma instead of playing with phones. Phones just aren't allowed in restaurants unless, of course, someone wants to share photos with the whole table. 

 

All in all, I think those parents are doing a good job of not letting the phone use get out of hand. Many schools now almost require them for doing school work. In that case, they need one.

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We resisted as long as we could, but finally gave in when our son started Gymnasium this fall - which starts in 7th grade in Berlin for most schools. AFAIK he was the last one in his class to get one. His school publishes all daily amendments to the class schedules on an app, for example, so that's important. We also wanted to make sure he could participate in the WhatsApp group chats.

 

We have his (used) iPhone pretty well locked down with the ScreenTime feature, though, so we're not worried about overuse. His school also has a strict policy about phones during school time - if a teacher catches anyone using their phone during the day, it gets taken away, and they can only pick them up from the secretary's office Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings.

 

On the plus side, he's now much more eager to read French comics, for example - our French neighbors have two adult sons and have a large collection from their childhood - because he can look up words he doesn't know online, instead of having to flip through a printed dictionary. What's more, his math teacher has recommended a math app that gamifies learning and also measures the students' progress - and customizes the exercises to concentrate on identified weaknesses - so that's a step towards the individualized learning that the IT revolution has been promising for decades now.

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My eldest is 17 and she had hers at age 12. I regret not so much the decision to allow the phone, but my failure as a parent to control and check her use of it. The instant-on lifestyle that the smartphone facilitates is extremely addictive and it seduces children and adults alike, as I have discovered to my own dismay. My other daughter is now 10 and she has a phone too. I will be more vigilant in my efforts to limit the addiction.

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57 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

...

 

Eduction and trust, not censorship and control, is a way to go.

 

I fully agree.

 

But one must also remember that these are children and young adults who will make makes (and they should make mistakes) and hence need to be observed at least.

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6 minutes ago, dj_jay_smith said:

But one must also remember that these are children and young adults who will make makes (and they should make mistakes) and hence need to be observed at least.

Sure.

 

It's a part of the modern world, whether one as a parent likes it or not. I don't understand messages about addiction. I was "addicted" to the landline phone. I could spend hours doing nothing but talking over the phone with a friend. It was almost free in my country (within one city, intracity calls were expensive), so parents did not bother about the bill.

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