What’s the Right Age for Kids to Have Smartphones?

Things were simpler once. It’s hard to imagine now that there was a time when there was no Twitter, no Facebook — no smartphones whatsoever. There was a time when kids didn’t spend all their time video chatting and taking selfies. And there was a time when parents didn’t have to decide when their kids are old enough to have a smartphone. There are never any easy answers, but modern parents can figure out the best way to solve this problem.

Tech-Savvy Kids

Children today know more about technology than any generation that has come before. According to an article from “The New York Times,” the average age for children to have a smartphone is 10. Some kids have them as early as 7 years old! If you were one of those kids who wasn’t responsible enough to have Play-Dough at age 7, you’re cringing right now.

That’s the right reaction. Many child experts say that it’s better to wait to give children a smartphone. There are many reasons why you might want your child to have a smartphone. For one, this is an easy way to track and communicate with your child. However, there are many dangers, too.

Good and Bad

Smartphones can be addictive. Go anywhere that appeals to teenagers, and just look around. You will see scores of teens standing and sitting around with their friends, staring at their phones instead of talking to each other. Smartphones also open your child up to apps and internet sites that could expose them to bullying, predators and other very real dangers. The FBI has its own cyber crimes division because the internet can be a dark and frightening place.

But there’s also a good side to smartphone ownership. It’s a good lesson in responsibility for your child, and it’s a good way to keep tabs on them, so to speak. With parental controls, you can monitor smartphone activity and block certain apps and websites. You can also impose certain rules about smartphone usage, and set timers through parental controls so that the phone will not work at certain times of the day or night. However, it is impossible to police everything that can be done on a smartphone.

The Right Answer

Is there a magic number when it comes to giving kids smartphones? Many say that parents should operate on a case-by-case basis, and determine for themselves when kids are ready to take on the responsibility of having a smartphone. However, if you’re looking for an easy answer you can always turn to one of the kings of tech. Bill Gates, who famously founded Microsoft, didn’t allow his own children to have smartphones until they were starting high school and age 14.

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