At What Age Should Kids Get a Phone?

Times have most certainly changed. Gone are the days when children kept themselves entertained with plastic shapes and snakes and ladders, because most of them have their own smartphone(s) – who would’ve thought the tide would change that much.

Turn back the clock a decade or so and you’d be fortunate to receive your own phone for successfully passing Grade 12. Scouring the interweb for a bit more information, many professional studies and parental care pages list the average ages of 12 and 13 for kids to get their own phone. As a parent, it is critical to take note of the common effects of technology on children in order to better understand how their phone usage affects them.

On the face of it, a child having his/her own phone might seem spoilt or hardly justifiable from an outsider perspective but, with factors like parental control and limited website access, a phone is beneficial when used in a structured manner. Its just a fact that kids are smart and inquisitive – some even have their own YouTube channels – and with so many negative influences out there, they can get sucked into anything fairly quickly.

Going back to the part where children are smart – they will often negotiate with their parents that if they pass very well at the end of the school year, then they can choose whatever they want. On one hand he/she is working hard at school because they know there is a prize at the end of it all. Call it self-motivation.

As a matter of accessibility, most parents only allow their children to be on their phone once they’ve finished their homework or school has come to an end for the day. Its main purpose is to watch YouTube videos and download as many games as possible for their enjoyment. Samsung and Huawei are the preferred Android-based choices for parents who usually upgrade their existing contracts and pass the older phone to the kids.

Gumtree lists a few ways in which to limit a child’s screen time:

  • Cut-off time – If they’re not monitored and stopped, kids can spend the entire day on their phones. Most parents enforce an 8pm phone cut-off time.
  • Designated phone times – A child’s school day typically ends at 1pm, which leaves a sufficient period in which for them to ‘relax’.
  • School work – If a child has homework or a project that must be completed, the phone can only be used again once schoolwork is sorted out.

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