Is Your Child Ready for a Smartphone?
The other day I was at my sister’s place and I saw two of my nieces aged 4 and 6 both hooked on to their parents’ gadgets. One was immersed in an iPhone 8 and the other was on an iPad mini. However, what really shocked me was that they were playing hide and seek inside Minecraft!
I mean where did all those days go when kids used to play physical games instead of twirling their thumbs on these touch devices. To be honest I miss those days, I mean where’s the imagination, where’s the creativity to come up with new games rather than spending time on something that has already been made. This makes me think about what is going on with this current generation and this made me ponder over a pressing issue; that when is your child ready for a smartphone? I guess there isn’t a right age for allowing your child to dip the toe into the digital pool. You’ll have to consider your household issues and give thought to how responsible your child is. You will have to go through this process whether you like it or not.
Your child might pester you for one, but do not rush. Wait until your child becomes a bit sensible and responsible to some extent. You can think of buying your children a cell phone when they get around by themselves, taking the bus, going to friends’ houses, or walking home from school.
Risks Associated With Cell Phones
Smartphones open up the door for several menaces like cyber-bullying, sexting, and Internet abuse. Children are naïve and they are at times overwhelmed with all the activities they can do via a smartphone. You will have to educate your child about what cyber-bullying is all about, guide them about uploading photos of themselves on the internet, accessing pornographic content, and talking to strangers.
Always Keep a Plan B
Before you get your child a smartphone, do keep these tips in mind:
- Set some rules and guidelines on your child’s cell phone usage
- Do not let your child keep the cell phone at night
- Ask your child to hand you the phone by 7:30 PM on weekdays and by 9:00 PM on weekends
- Request him or her to avoid cell phone usage during a class, while driving or when somebody is talking to them
No matter how trustworthy or mature your child is you must always keep a plan B, and that plan B is monitor your child’s cell phone usage using a parental control app; as this will help you ensure that he or she is using the device in accordance to the rules you have set out.
At the end of the day; there is no cut-and-dry answer, you will have to pay attention to the issues in your household and your child’s maturity level. Hence, do not forget to install a mobile tracker to keep your child protected.