What age are they emotionally ready to have their own cellphones?
Parents have to think twice before handing smartphones to their 10-year-old so that they can fit in with their friends?
- Ages four to six Kids in this age group shouldn’t be using smartphones (or other mobile devices), period. When it comes to screen time in general, limiting it to less than one hour a day for children ages two to five years old (screen time for children younger than two years old is not recommended at all). Smartphone use at a very young age is damaging to developing brains.
- Social skills
- are also learned in person. “Kids should be interacting face to face, looking into the eyes of another human being so that they can learn to develop empathy and read facial expressions—what makes another child happy or sad.
- Ages seven to nine
- Advice for younger kids also applies to this age group: no phones. However, if some parents want their kids to have phones to keep in touch when they’re away from home, he says an old-school flip phone without Internet access will do just fine.
The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs limited his kids’ use of technology and even prohibited them from using the iPad when it was released. Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, didn’t allow his kids to have their own phones until they turned 14.
- Ages 10 to 12
Parents should place strict limits on phone usage at this age and not give children Internet-enabled mobile devices. “Kids should only be allowed to use phones to call their parents,” Excess screen time is associated with unhealthy habits, such as consuming more junk food. Kids who are on screens from the moment they come home until they go to bed. Then they don’t have any friends and they become overweight.
- There is such a high incidence of mental and physical health issues among youth that is associated with technology overuse. Most “official” recommendations are that a child is ready for supervised use of a smartphone by age 13. But another approach is for parents to consider the maturity level of their child. For example, if a child has healthy connections to people and activities that engender a sense of belonging and is inclined to talk to his parents if he gets into trouble online.
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Oliver & Kim