While there are many valid reasons why your child needs to have a cellphone, there are also reasons that’ll undoubtedly cause concern for parents.
In this day of ever-evolving technology and freedom to the internet through our handheld devices, it’s important to plan ahead if you’re considering giving your child a cellphone.
As kids get older and will be out of the house more often, their engagement with you shouldn’t drop off in the process of them gaining interest outside of the home.
One challenge parents have with their kids leaving the house is feeling like their communication with their children is going to suffer, and they will get into nonsense at some point.
Cellphones ease this sense of worry, and we’re fortunate to have a wide selection of available products, that we don’t have to worry about paying an outrageous price to provide a cellphone for our kid.
So what are the top reasons you should invest in a cell phone for young kids?
In this article
- They Keep Kids Safer
- Encourage Their Responsibility As Maturing Individuals
- Forming Helpful Habits and Reminders
- Divorce in the Family
- Teenagers Who Drive
- Reasons Why Young Kids Shouldn’t Have A Cellphone
- What Is The Youngest Age Possible For Kids To Have A Cellphone?
- How To Tell Your Kid No About Having a Cell Phone
- Types of Phone to Invest In
- If You Decide to Buy Your Kid a Cell Phone
They Keep Kids Safer
All parents just want their kids to return home safe, healthy, and happy – that makes sense! With the rising number of kidnappings, one thing that could help in a dire situation is if those kids had a cell phone.
Any time your child is frightened or concerned for their safety, you or the police are just a click away. Aside from them being able to dial out a call for help in their times of urgency, kids with cellphones can be tracked via their phone’s GPS.
This has come in handy many times for parents who encounter run-away and kidnapping situations with their kids. Aside from being stolen, there are plenty of other disasters that can potentially happen throughout the day.
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Encourage Their Responsibility As Maturing Individuals
A cell phone is an opportunity for young ones to prove they can be responsible. On the flip side, it gives parents an upper hand to have a form of punishment when children use it excessively and irresponsibly.
For teenagers who could possibly end up at a party, this gives them the opportunity to call for a ride and make the responsible decision to not get in the car with a drunk driver.
It also allows them to be responsible for various forms of communication and teaches them to let someone in charge know if they are going to be late for appointments or even arriving home.
These habits eventually carry over in their workplace, once they’re employed.
Forming Helpful Habits and Reminders
Organization skills are crucial in today’s world. If you don’t have them, you likely won’t succeed in a lot of ways.
A lot of events and programs are online these days, and smartphones can help organize the growing demands kids encounter in apps like Google Calendar and other similar apps.
Kids can set alarms, mark the calendar in their phone with alarms for events, and even create daily tasks lists for things like chores. This gives them a sense of being in charge of their day and important events.
That no one else is going to remind them of upcoming activities and if they miss out, they feel the full repercussions of missing out on what was important for them.
Divorce in the Family
Kids that are subjected to divorce unfortunately have to figure out a way to keep in contact with parents who they aren’t able to see at home that day.
Even with alternating days between visiting each parent, they’ll find times that they need to ask the other parent something important or want to say hi.
Cellphones are tools that allow parents to contact their kids without relying on landline phones all the time. This is something kids and parents should have if divorce happened in their lives.
It will make things a lot easier for everyone involved after an already tough situation.
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Teenagers Who Drive
Teenagers who drive are probably one group that should absolutely have a cell phone. The roads just aren’t like the old days.
Back in the day, there was far more courteous behavior on the roads from drivers. These days I find myself questioning who taught these drivers to drive.
Being cut-off, rear-ended, and wrecking isn’t out of the question any time your teen gets behind the wheel. Other drivers are especially irritated if they’re in a rush.
Most people don’t even pay attention to teens being new drivers who need more learning room. If your teen gets into an altercation on the road – they might not know how to handle the interactions.
It is important for them to be able to contact you in case this happens, especially if it involves the laws of the road. As a parent, you’ve more experience and could really help your teenager out.
Reasons Why Young Kids Shouldn’t Have A Cellphone
As with most things, giving a young kid a cellphone will have some cons and you should be aware of these.
When you give your child access to a cell phone, oftentimes you’re giving your child internet access as well. This extends to all social media platforms, web browsers, and possible communication with other people who are on the internet.
The internet can be a scary and dangerous place if kids are left to explore it unsupervised. To prevent them from accessing inappropriate websites, tools like Norton Family Security and Monitoring tools can really help out.
However, keep in mind that you really can’t keep teenagers off and out of everything they shouldn’t be in. They’re smart and resourceful when it comes to scouting out alternative methods for breaking the rules parents set in place.
In fact, a truly intelligent individual can and will break the rules out of curiosity and just because they can. This is why it’s a concern to many parents.
But with good practice and consistent rules in place, your kid will eventually come around to have better behavior. The timeframe that they don’t know the consequences of their actions on the internet is when we have to be concerned.
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Breaking the Device and Costly Investments
Cellphones put a dent in a parent’s pockets, and young kids don’t seem to understand this aspect. Devices get broken, insurance plans only cover so many replacements, and kids continue being reckless.
It’s a horrific cycle of the cellphone market, even for adults who’re extra careful with their phones. A little water spilled on the device by mistake and it shuts down entirely.
Cellphones are even more sensitive to damage now than 10 years ago! Who made it this way? The demand for new and better phones did.
The entire game of cellphone seller-and-buyer nature is to get the buyer to purchase their next phone as quickly as possible. So even if your kid takes extra good care of their phone, they slow down and their computer system becomes outdated over time.
When you decide to purchase your kid one phone, you’re ultimately deciding to invest in more technology and phones in the long-run.
Decisions on Which Phone to Buy
Let’s face it, teenagers and tweens have a preference for their devices. They know so-and-so who has this or that, or perhaps they saw a commercial about this phone.
Somewhere they wind up knowing more about cellphones than you do! When deciding to purchase a phone for your kid, keep in mind that there might be undesirable stress and tension behind choosing your child a phone.
You can always go the route of a surprise phone, based on your budget and your sole decision. Though some kids might say that preferred something else, instead of being grateful.
This attitude can be draining to your energy and optimism. In the end, it’s still a possible notion that comes along with investing in a cellphone for your kid that parents need to be aware of.
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What Is The Youngest Age Possible For Kids To Have A Cellphone?
According to the ‘American Think Tank’ that provides information to the public regarding social issues and demographics, children and teens shouldn’t have a cell phone until they reach they’re at least 12 or 13.
Now, this is the general recommendation but ultimately it’s up to parents when they decide to gift their kids a cell phone.
It depends on the maturity of your child, and your overall family dynamic. There could be valid reasons you should invest in a basic cell phone earlier than the age of 12 for your kid.
Personally, I don’t see any reason why kids ages under six should have a cellphone. And at that young age, communicating with you and their other parent would be the only valid reason.
How To Tell Your Kid No About Having a Cell Phone
If your child is asking for a smartphone and you know this isn’t an option right now, there are plenty of way’s to get the message across without conflict but here’s what to focus on:
- Explain the cost of a phone to them, and that it’s out of reach for the family budget right now.
- Make it something to work towards and for them to save up for.
- Offer chores they do to earn money or that they will have their first job eventually.
- Talk to them about the potential dangers of having a phone, especially if they are young kids.
- Pick a time when it might be an option and let them know you can plan it together as a birthday gift or special occasion investment.
- Offer an alternative smart device instead of a cell phone.
Types of Phone to Invest In
If you walk into a cell phone store and mention to them you want to add your child to your family cell phone plan, they’ll likely have a vast array of ways to sell you the most expensive cell phone with all the latest features.
That’s why you’ll want to do your research before talking with an agent about adding your child, at least for the device you decide on. It’s easy to be talked into the next bargain deal, or a sale that will eventually end, leaving you with a more expensive plan.
Have a budget in mind and stick to it no matter what.
To prep kids for their very first cell phone, you can choose a lowcost option like the Child’s Interactive My First Cell Phone by YoYo.
This is to cover the groundwork such as button pressing, listening to songs on a cellphone (learning to listen), and getting kids used to paying attention to a ringing cellphone (how to answer it).
We found a practical first cellphone for parents of kids between the ages of 4-9 years old to be the VTech KidiBuzz G2.
It’s a kid-friendly smart device made specifically for kids to call parent-approved contacts. With this VTech device, they can send text, picture, and voice messages through a kid app over the included wifi connection.
It comes with a shatterproof screen and a kid-safe web browser. This is truly a great option for first-time cell phone users that are young, and parents who want to go easy on the wallet until their kids are a bit older.
Another option for parents of tweens and teenagers is a prepaid smartphone, like a Tracphone. Trac phones are easy to work with, prepaid so you can decide to shut it off without any outstanding bills.
It gives your kid a sense of freedom with their cell phone, but still remaining in control of the situation. Most Trac phones have limited web browsing abilities, but, offer other features like a built-in Mp3 player, and camera that teenagers find useful and fun.
If You Decide to Buy Your Kid a Cell Phone
Ask yourself these questions beforehand: why do they need it? What is their level of responsibility? What safety issues can they comprehend?
What is their take and involvement in the overall cost? Which functions are appropriate for the age range? What are my methods of keeping the device safe for my kid?
If you have gone over these important questions and decided it’ll be best to get a cellphone for your child or teenager, there are plenty of ways to have a positive healthy experience throughout the entire investment.
From the time of decision making to the time of investing your hard-earned money, many parents have been in the shoes of buying a cell phone for their kid. Thankfully, there is plenty of support through online forums to guide you.