Take a few minutes to read What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone? by Brian X Chen. The July 20, 2016 New York Times article includes interviews with Internet Safety experts and contains some advice from other parents.
The Take-aways? (Well, we know most of this, but reminders are always useful.)
- Wait as long as possible to buy a smartphone for your child.
- When you do make the purchase, be sure there are clear rules, a signed contract or agreement (check out my contacts and agreements list), and parental commitment to spend the time keeping an eye on the phone.
- Set out clear consequences if the rules are broken, and follow-up with them.
- Other devices, sometimes called “dumb phones” can be purchased, and they do not have all the capabilities of smartphones.
For iPhones, Apple offers a switchboard full of features that parents can enable or disable, including the ability to restrict the Safari browser from gaining access to adult content and the ability to prevent apps from using cellular data. The iPhone’s parental controls live inside the Settings app in a menu labeled Restrictions.
Also check out a thoughtful blog post, What’s the Right Age For a Kid to Have a Cell Phone.
You might also want to read these MediaTechParenting blog posts.