When is a Child Old Enough for a Smartphone?

Technology is increasingly a part of almost everyone’s life and a large percentage of the population now has a smartphone. Children seem to become tech savvy at younger and younger ages now and they are asking their parents for smartphones at an age when most of us would have been content to own a tape recorder.

Do you have a child asking you for an iPhone? Are you curious about what is the appropriate age for such a device? According to Influence Central, some kids are getting their first phones by age 10 and, occasionally, even younger.

Part of the problem that comes from determining an appropriate age is that no two children are alike. Some children demonstrate maturity and responsibility from a young age, while others can take considerably longer to successfully demonstrate comparable advancement.

We all know (possibly on a very personal level) how addictive smartphones can be. Parents sometimes have great difficulty getting their kids to do their homework and chores already; give them a phone and the situation will likely become even more problematic.

There is also the fact that smartphones can give children access to just about anything on the internet, if the phone plan includes data. Certain filters will block out content on home computers, but parents can have a much harder time policing what their kids are watching on phones.

The cost of the device is also a factor. While certain cases provide adequate protection for day-to-day use, smartphones are not toys and may not stand up to the amount of wear and tear a child can put them through. There is also the fact that kids do not demonstrate the same level of thought about where they put their phones, so it could become lost.

From a science standpoint, the prefrontal cortex does not finish developing in humans until they are in their 20s. Its functions are related to impulse control; children and teens simply do not possess the same degree of control in that area.

All in all, my advice is to adhere to licensing rules: don’t let your child have a smartphone until they are old enough to get a license and drive a car.

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