Is my child old enough to have a mobile phone?
Ownership of mobile phones by children seems to be getting younger year on year, but the right age should be considered on a case by case basis. Why does your child want a phone? What will they use it for? When is the right age? Read on to find out.
Do they want or need a phone?
The situation is different for every child. In some cases, a phone is necessary so a child can communicate with a mother or father who they don’t live with. If your child catches the bus home alone or walks to and from school then a phone can be a useful way to check on them. In the absence of any of these situations, there’s no doubt that your child doesn’t need a phone, they simply want one.
How responsible is your child?
Children grow and develop at different rates and in some instances a 9-year-old girl may show more maturity than a 12-year-old boy. Think about your child in particular and to what extent you trust them to act responsibly with the internet at their fingertips.
Some people consider mobile phone ownership in children a greater risk to their safety than allowing them to walk to school alone. Children can be groomed on certain social games or inadvertently give away personal details such as their address. The dangers are high and parental controls can only protect so much; it cannot protect against the grooming which happens to children as young as five. You would not allow your child to be taught by someone without a proper CRB check from a firm such as http://www.carecheck.co.uk/, so why would you allow them to be ‘friends’ with people you have never met? Whatever age you decide to allow your child to have a phone, make sure you go on this unknown journey with them and stay up to date with news about children’s online safety.
In conclusion, there is no ‘right’ age for children to be allowed a mobile phone, although peer pressure and the fact that phones are so cheap to run will mean that the general age is always going to get younger. Responsible adults need to always consider their child in particular and stay abreast of the ever-changing dangers.