Over the past four weeks, I have partnered with Verizon to start the discussion with parents about when it’s the right time to give your child a smartphone, as well as options for when you are ready.
As a mom of three school-age kids, smartphones have been a huge topic of discussion in our house over the past year. My 9-year-old twin girls are going into 4th grade and they have friends who already have phones so, of course, they think they need to have one too. As a parent, it’s hard to know when it’s the right time.
What is the right age to give your child a smartphone?
My 17-year-old son got his first smartphone in middle school. We needed a way to communicate with him while he was at sports, friends’ houses, etc. We made sure to set limits and expectations right from the start and thankfully, we haven’t had too many problems with it.
I wanted to know what other parents thought, so I took the question to social media. I asked parents when they thought a child should get their first smartphone and the common consensus was middle school (age 12-14). This is the time when many kids are given more responsibility in school, sports, and extracurricular activities. This is also the time when kids are away from their parents more so a phone is a convenient way to communicate.
My sons were in modified sports, so 8th grade age. If game fields changed, and they did last minute, they could tell me. As much as I resisted, it became a helpful tool.@patricia_antone
Our son was in middle of 7th grade as a Christmas gift. We have 3 kids so he’s always the one at home solo somedays and often being carted around to travel sports so it’s a key communication tool.@wish_with_ila
My advice, wait as long as you can.@mcbright15
On the flip side, I have a friend who is a single mom who told me her 8-year-old daughter needed to have a phone because she works long hours and wants to be able to communicate with her daughter after school and when she is away at her dad’s house.
At the end of the day, there really is no right age to give your child a smartphone. It’s really a question of when is the right time. That may vary from one child to another. I think it’s important to sit down as a family and discuss the benefits to see if it makes sense.
What are the benefits of giving your child a smartphone?
For me, it’s all about being able to stay in touch with my kids when they aren’t with me. I want to be able to reach them when they go to sports, after-school activities, friends’ houses, etc.
I also think that smartphones can be beneficial for academic purposes. My son’s high school posts assignments, grades and more online that he needs to be able to access in order to be successful at school.
When I asked parents what the benefits of giving their child a smartphone are, they listed communication and safety the most.
That is the main reason I got cellphones for my children when they started high school. The need to know where there are, and it gave me peace of mind knowing we can communicate with each other especially in times of emergencies.@eileenlayno
We feel more comfortable knowing our son can get in touch if he needs!@ckrusch
As parents, I think it’s important to sit down with our kids and discuss potential situations, like how to handle bullying, emergencies, social media, etc. BEFORE we give a child a smartphone.
Smartphones allow kids to carry the Internet with them and make it possible to see and hear almost anything, anytime, and from anyone.It’s important to talk with our kids about how to use social media wisely.@dinnersdishes
A Smartphone Plan Designed for Kids
Once we decide the timing is right for our twin girls to get a smartphone, I am happy to know that Verizon offers a new Just Kids Plan that is designed to meet the needs of kids and parents. It gives kids the freedom they want and parents the peace of mind they want. It’s the first kid-ready plan that is parent approved!
We stopped by our local Verizon store to learn more about the Just Kids Plan and we were so impressed with all of the features. You can set limits, block content, restrict contacts, monitor your child’s location and more.
Features of the Verizon Just Kids Plan
- Manage Screen Time – Limit the amount of date your child can use and what times of day they can use it.
- Track Location – GPS tracking so you know the location of your child’s device right from your smart family companion app.
- Filter Content – Easily set content filters to block inappropriate apps and websites on kid’s mobile phones whether they are using wi-fi or data.
- Trusted Contacts – Add up to 20 contacts that your child can reach whenever they need, regardless of restrictions.
If your child is ready for a smartphone, make sure you check out the Verizon Just Kids Plan! You can add it to your Family Plan starting at $35/month per line.