Is there a “right age” to get your children their own mobile phone? Why should you do it?
Why get your children a mobile phone?
To know that they are always reachable, to encourage their blooming social life, because they simply want one… There are many reasons to give your child a mobile phone, but not all of them are valid! As a matter of fact, there is only one key criteria: that this mobile phone has a utility, and that it is not just another a high-tech gadget. Ask yourself the right questions before doing this investment:
How old is your child? His/her use of the device is very much related to his/her age!
What are you really expecting? To please your child? Keep an eye on his/her movements? Reassure yourself by knowing that you can reach him/her at all times?
What is your child’s daily life like? Does he/she do long trips without you everyday? Are these trips potentially risky (roads to cross, etc.)?
In other words, it is your responsibility to evaluate whether there is a real practical need for your child to have a mobile phone, or if it is only a whim.
For children who are just starting to experience autonomy (doing their first trips to school for example), the Weenect Kids device, providing a geolocation feature and allowing your child to call you if necessary, may be sufficient.
The age of the first mobile phone
Of course, children know how to use a mobile phone at their earliest age: they have been raised around that kind of technology! However, it is commonly stated that the right age to own a mobile phone is around 11 years old, when your children start secondary school. It is a major transition period: your children become pre-teens, they discover a brand new way to organize their daily life (sometimes along with longer distances between home and their school), friends and social relationships start taking a crucial position in their lives, etc.
The right way to go is to choose a very simple mobile phone, instead of a smartphone. Your children need to call, be called and send text messages, that’s it! Smartphones may be attractive, but their imply a different use. Furthermore, being permanently connected to their networks can trigger high-risk behaviors (addictions, bad online encounters, unwanted expenses, etc.). And that does not include the initial cost of a smartphone and the risk of theft!
Choose a prepaid service; make your children responsible for their use of the phone and make sure that they don’t go beyond authorized limits. You can also request that they pay for part of their phone plan. It may be an interesting way to make them more autonomous!