In an age defined by technology, it is no wonder that the topic of when to give your child their first phone is heavily debated by parents. There are many factors that should be considered when deciding when is the right time for your kid to get a phone and ultimately there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ age. It really is more about how responsible your child is and whether there is a need (rather than a want!) for them to have their first phone.
According to the Influence Central Digital Trends Study, the average age for children to get a phone in the UK is 10.3 years old, however, many parents still wait until the start of secondary school at the age of 11 or 12. What is more concerning to hear is that in a study published in BMC Psychiatry, one in four children have a ‘dysfunctional relationship with smartphones’ which is having a significant impact on their mental health, particularly in later years.
Of course, there are also many advantages to owning a phone (like safety and ease of communication), but the research begs the question: is it a good idea to give children phones? Perhaps these questions can help you to decide whether your child is ready:
If you have answered yes for the majority of these questions, then it might be the right time for them to get their first phone. We have some tips for introducing a phone to your child.
Make sure you lay out your expectations from them and explain the responsibility that comes from owning a phone. They need to take care of it, keep it charged and avoid going over the set allowances in texts, data and minutes.
Your child does not need to own the latest, trendiest smartphone. Begin with something simple and allow them to work their way up to more responsibility. The UBEEQUEE Explorer is the perfect example of a beginner’s phone. It’s a watch, a tracker and a phone. You can keep track of your little one and they are able to make SOS calls and texts. You have the safety of knowing where your child is, and they have the comfort of knowing they can reach you if they need to.
On most phones, including the UBEEQUEE Explorer, you are able to put in place parental controls and limits. For instance, with the Explorer, you have control over which numbers can contact the tracker watch. Other smart phones also have options to ban certain websites from being accessed.
By having password controls, your child will need to come to you when they want to download any apps. This way, you have full knowledge of what apps they are using and the ability to stop them from having social media accounts before they are ready.
Most phones allow you to put in place time limits on certain apps. Once they have used up their allotted time slot, they will no longer be able to access the selected apps. Also, with phones like the UBEEQUEE Explorer, you are able to turn the phone on ‘school’ mode, which means that no calls or texts can be made during school time. You will still be able to track them, and they will still be able to use it as a watch, but they won’t be distracted.
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