In this technology age, more and more children are starting to get their own mobile phones, with nearly half of children owning one by the time they are ten years old.
With so many children owning phones and with different apps becoming more accessible to them, it appears children are becoming reliant on them. It has recently been reported that more than half of children sleep next to their mobile phones and that seven to 16-year-olds spend around three hours and 20 minutes on their phone every day.
Is your child asking for a phone? Unsure whether to get one? If so, read on.
Does my child need a mobile phone?
In the short, no they don’t. However, we can understand the peer pressure children are getting from their friends at school with FOMO (fear of missing out.) If your child’s friends don’t have a mobile phone, and you don’t feel comfortable in giving your child a phone, keep away from buying one for as long as possible.
If your child walks to and from school on their own or they tend to go out with their friends, a phone can be very appealing as it can be used in an emergency or if you need to contact your child for any reason at all. This phone doesn’t need to be a smart phone, there are plenty of phones out there that are very basic and are just used for calls and texts.
If your child is pushing for a phone because their friends at school have one here are the considerations to think about before saying yes:
Can you afford to buy a phone and can you afford to keep it running? There are a lot of cost-effective plans out there but these tend to be SIM only plans which means buying the phone outright first.
What is your child using it for? Are they using it to talk to their friends or to be used for social media? Will this pull them away from reality and distract them from their school work?
Will your child be open to online bullying?
Does your child have an understanding of internet safety? There is a lot of harmful content for children on the internet so your child needs to be aware of the dangers and when to know when to speak to an adult if issues do occur. You can also set up parental locks to help limit the content for under 18’s.
If you do go ahead and buy a phone, make sure you set ground rules before giving the device to your child. Discuss the amount of time they can spend on their phone and what times they can use it.
If you need more guidance and advice, you can find more information out here.