According to the latest cell phone research,
on average, a child gets his or her first smartphone at 10.3 years old. That same study shows that by age 12, a full 50 percent of children have social media accounts (primarily Facebook and Instagram).May 10, 2018
You can’t beat the convenience. If your child has a cell phone, you can call or text him to find out where he is and what he’s doing and inform him of your own plans. It can make you feel safer just knowing where your kids are. And in an emergency, a cell phone can be crucial if your child needs to reach you — or vice versa. That’s partly why many parents are buying their kids cell phones.
Cell phones work by using radio waves. That’s radiation (though it’s not like what you’d get from an X-ray). Does that affect health — especially if children start using phones at a very young age when their brains are still developing?
Sleep (or Lack Thereof)
If your child has her cell phone with her at bedtime, will she actually go to sleep or will she stay up and text?
Teen Drivers and Texting
Texting while driving is a huge risk. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study shows it’s the most distracting task a driver can do. Don’t assume your teen won’t use a phone while driving. In one survey, more than half of teens aged 16-17 who own cell phones said they have talked on the phone while driving, and a third of those teens who text admitted that they have texted while driving.
More Than a Phone
Cell phones can also put social media, videos, games, movies, music, and TV shows within reach. Are you ready for your child to have that kind of access?
Monitoring Your Child’s Phone
Should you check who your child is calling and what she’s tweeting?
Absolutely, Mc. Key says. “I know that kids consider mobile devices to be personal property,” she says. “And they don’t want their parents snooping around. But I think parents are justified in saying, ‘I understand this can be used for good but it also can be misused. So every now and then I’m going to check to make sure you’re using it responsibly and respectfully.’
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Oliver & Kim