When should your child be allowed their own smartphone?

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 13 Mar 2019

FILED - The use of electronic devices by preschool children, especially mobile phones and computers, can lead to behavioural difficulties, a new study has found. Photo: Hans-Jürgen Wiedl/dpa

Smartphones, tablets and consoles are on many children's wish lists, but not every device is suitable for all ages. And some parents wonder at what age kids should be allowed their own phone. 

One thing is for sure: refusing your child a smartphone entirely is not the way to go. Learning how to navigate the digital world is an important skill today, and barring them from this world could end up being harmful. 

But that's not to say that kids should be handed a phone as soon as they can hold one. 

It's a good idea to introduce kids to smartphones and surfing the Web by showing them on your own phone. That way they can learn about the Web, what can be shared online, and what should not be posted online. 

Children around the ages of twelve are usually able to figure out how to understand the Internet best, and are also less susceptible to falling into traps or being tricked into buying something from an ad. 

But all children have their own rhythm. And some children – just like adults – are more likely to get stressed out by a smartphone than others. 

Feeling under pressure to deal with notifications or being afraid of losing an expensive phone are all signals that your kid may not be ready for their own phone. 

What if all the other kids already have smartphones before they turn 10, and you're worried that your child will end up feeling excluded? Well, you can always let your child have a smartphone, but introduce rules around when it can be used. – dpa

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