Receiving their first mobile phone is a landmark moment in a child’s life. However, with that phone, there also come a lot of responsibilities for your child to live up to. But how are you to know when it’s finally time to hand them their very own mobile phone? Here are some questions to ask yourself before you make that important final decision.
Do you have the time to teach them important basics?
As a parent, your child is going to look to you for guidance and support with using the basics of a mobile phone. It’s also worth teaching your child how area codes work in case they receive a call from an unknown number that may be important. For example, if you live in Manchester, does your child know the 0161 area code well enough to understand it may be a call from a local number?
Do you trust them to always do the right thing?
Is your child up to the challenges that come with a mobile phone? There’s pressure to join in with cyberbullying, and other social media trap falls that may eventually come with this choice to get a mobile phone. When those moments come, do you trust your child to do the right thing?
Do you feel like they really need a phone?
There’s a huge difference between needing something and simply wanting it. But that choice ultimately rests on your shoulders. Sometimes asking them why they want a phone can help you to decide this on your own.
Will this phone help or hinder your family as a whole?
Are there times when you’ve wished your child had a mobile phone to make communication and planning a little easier? Perhaps you’re running a little late to pick them up from school or something else and needed a way to let them know it’s alright?
Many parents prefer to give their children a mobile phone so that they can contact them in an emergency, or ask for permission to stay late or visit a friend after school. It all depends on whether or not a phone will help keep you both in better contact or just be another bill to pay each month.
Do your child’s friends have phones yet?
While no one should ever have something just because their friends do, it may be a good indicator for you about how other parents have acted in terms of mobile phones within certain age groups.
If your child is one of the few in their class without a mobile phone, and you’re confident that having one would be beneficial, then perhaps it’s time to make that purchase.
Ultimately, as their parent or legal guardian, you know what’s best for your child. And as long as there’s trust, clear communication, and consistency with the rules of phone usage, giving your child a mobile phone may be a pivotal moment for you both, instead of a potential problem.