Is Your Child Mature Enough for a Cell Phone?

29 Oct

Every time I pick up my 11 year-old from school, I feel a twinge of guilt. You see, my daughter’s one of only a few kids her age who don’t emerge from school frantically checking a phone. We haven’t taken “the plunge” yet and bought her a phone.

Since the dilemma over when to buy your child a phone is the source of so much conflict, USA recently published an article by Jamie Buss about this very subject. He seems to advocate two ways to know if your child is ready for a cell phone.Boy playing game on cell phone. Kid sitting on grey background a

According to Buss, “cell phones provide you a chance to know where your child is at all times. If they are walking home from school or participating in after-school activities, a smartphone is an easy means of reaching them for rides or in the event a situation occurs. If there are responsible adults around them at all times, perhaps that’s a reason to hold off a little longer.”

Then, there’s the maturity factor. Buss writes, “Cell phones are a big responsibility. They are a great way to stay connected but they can be a huge distraction at school. Phones are also easy to misplace, so it’s important ground rules are set in place in the event they’re caught using their phones at an inappropriate time or they lose the device altogether.”

Still ready to get your child a phone?  Buss has a few bits of advice from the National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children:

  • Review how to properly use the phone
  • Review cell phone bills
  • Explain that once they hit the send button on a message or picture that the information they’ve sent is no longer their own.
  • Note the importance of keeping cell phone numbers and passwords private
  • Discuss the importance of being respectful with their phone.
  • Ask about security features

Safety, of course, is the first priority. So, if a phone is a necessity to keep your child safe, the decision is really made for you. Still, it’s a personal decision each family must make on its own!


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