Children do not need cell phones until 12-13 years of age at a minimum. Ask yourself what do they need it for? If your answer is they don’t really but I want them to fit in, that’s the wrong answer. We have to keep in mind once we give our children a phone there is no going back! They will have one from that day on. Even at age 12 the phone needs to have limits to it’s use and be very carefully monitored. Remember kids aren’t using the phone for calls but mostly texting and social media. It is better for them to pass their time in other ways. Young adolescents too quickly fall back on the phone for entertainment. Active socialization is an essential developmental task at this age. Their social media exposure is better monitored on a screen at home. Checking for texts and emails becomes almost addictive and prevents focusing on the task at hand be it school, reading, sports etc. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do they need the phone to contact parents or friends?
2. Would a family phone that is passed between children when they need it to be suitable?
3. Can they keep track of their personal belongings?
Treat having a phone as a privilege not a right.