It can be very difficult to say no to your child when they are kicking and screaming about a phone. Nowadays children find out very early about smartphones. They will use one eventually and will likely get hooked the moment they do. It is your job to distance your child from these technological dopamine-inducers from an early age, but it is also your job to show them how to responsibly use them. It’s tough to know when your child is ready to get a smartphone of their own, but a general rule is to prolong the inevitable as much as possible. There are general age that shouldn’t use devices due to their brain development, but beyond that you need to look at the way your kids behave when they use these devices and to guide them through the process of growing up in an advanced technological society.

Under the Age of 10

If your child is under the age of ten, there is no reason that they should have their own phone. In fact, during the brain’s early development, it can be quite detrimental to their growth. Smartphones and tablets have been proven to release dopamine when they ping with a notification. This is not good for the developing mind. Especially under the age of 6, experts agree that they should not be using these devices. It isn’t only bad for them to get used to the instant gratification of smartphones and tablets, they aren’t good for the eyes and can lead to them seeing things they shouldn’t see on the internet. Overall, it is best for you limit your child’s involvement with mobile devices until they are over the age of 10, but you can start introducing them to these devices and setting ground rules early on.

When is my Child Ready?

According to the Pew Research Institute, about 45 percent of children in the United States from ages 10 to 12 have access to a smartphone with a service plan. Most parents go ahead and buy their children a smartphone around this age, but many say it is still too early for them to have their own phone. Nevertheless, many parents like the idea of their children being able to call them when they need to and in case of an emergency. While they can be a great resource, you should pay attention to when your child is ready.

You should always observe how your child is interacting with technology in their lives as well as their overall maturity level. Essential questions about privacy, time on screens, and the internet can be quite revealing. It is also enlightening to think about how the child does with the device itself. Can they keep track of it? According to the site MoneyPug, which is known as a platform to find cheap mobile phones, kids are the biggest culprits when it comes to lost phones. If they cannot keep track of the device, it is a good indicator that they are too young for it.

Parental Control Apps Can Help

Once you have decided that your child is ready for a smartphone, regulation doesn’t stop there. On the contrary, you should be very careful about how much screen time they are allowed and when they are using the device. A great way to monitor usage and the websites that your child visits is to implement a parental control app, one of the many applications that provide the ability to monitor time on screens and websites the devices are visiting.

When you keep track of how much your child is using their devices, and what they are doing on the, you will be a lot better equipped to guide them through the process of learning smartphones and their ways. You don’t want your child to become hooked to their phone at an early age. Instead, you should do your best to implement ground rules about what they can do on devices, when they can use it, and for how long they are able to do so. By keeping aware and teaching your children the negatives of technology as well as the positives, you will be able to raise a capable, technologically savvy adult without an over-dependence on their devices.

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Contributed by Amna Khan