When should you start giving your kids smartphones? Should they get them at an early age or wait until their teens? In today’s tech world, children under 12 years old are already using smartphones. As a parent, you don’t want your child to miss out on anything, but at the same time, is it dangerous leaving them with such a device?
Smartphones have become ubiquitous in our society. They let us stay connected 24/7, even from afar. Their growing popularity has led to a surge in the number of young children who are now exposed to social media, especially TikTok. While these devices are great tools, they also come with risks.
Parents often worry whether smartphones pose a risk to children’s health. Research suggests that exposure to cell phones before puberty leads to changes in brain development and behavior. If you decide to give your child a phone at a young age, then you need to be mindful and keep it in control. What are the right steps you need to take to ensure your child's safety online and when it's the right age to give them a smartphone?
How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online | Parenting Tips & Tricks
Kids can access all sorts of information online at very young ages. It’s important for parents to know what their kids are looking at and how to protect them. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
1. Set Limits on Screen Time
Children are constantly glued to screens. Parents must set boundaries and limit the amount of time their kids spend watching TV, playing video games, and browsing the internet. This is done not only to limit their procrastination, but it could be hurtful for their eyes and their social lives if they want to live only through the screens of the phone.
2. Monitor what your Kids Watch
It’s easy to assume that because your kid isn’t talking about something, he or she doesn’t care about it. However, there are many ways to monitor what your kids watch. You can use apps like Net Nanny or FamilyNanny to track what your kids are doing online. These apps allow you to see what websites your kids visit, as well as what videos they watch and which apps they download.
3. Use Technology Wisely
Technology is sometimes created for the wrong reasons, yet can also be of great benefit when designed and used properly. On the one hand, it helps people connect with each other and share ideas. But on the other hand, technology can be used to manipulate others. For example, cyberbullying is a common problem among teenagers. A good way to prevent this is to teach your kids how to deal with negative comments online.
An even better way? Allow them to visit safe, age appropriate ecosystems only. No children should be subject to a chatroom of anonymous adults.
4. Teach Them How to Protect Themselves
Teach your kids how to avoid scams and cyberbullies. Also, teach them how to report inappropriate content. There are several ways to do this. One is by installing parental controls on their phones. Another is by blocking certain keywords on search engines.
5. Talk About Privacy Issues
Privacy issues are another concern for parents. Many parents don’t realize that their kids might be sharing too much personal information online. Explain to them the importance of privacy and why it’s so crucial to be careful while using the Internet.
6. Be Aware of What Apps Are Available
There are thousands of free apps available on the market today. Some of these apps are engineered to be useful, while others are designed to distract kids. Make sure you know what apps your kids are downloading and make sure they aren’t getting into trouble.
What is the right age to give your child a smartphone?
Parents often wonder whether smartphones pose a risk to children. Studies have shown that exposure to cell phones during childhood may lead to changes in brain development. Ideally, a child should be getting a smartphone at the age of 14. There are many conflicting arguments, but this is generally considered safe by most.
A new survey from Common Sense Media finds that half of American children between the ages of 8 and 13 already have access to cell phones, which means that most young people are likely carrying them at some point during childhood.
Research has shown that children under seven years old shouldn't use smartphones. However, there are no laws that dictate whether parents should give them smartphones. So, purchasing a smartphone for your child should always be a well-thought-out and careful decision.
The best thing that parents can do is to educate themselves about the risks associated with smartphones and teach their children how to protect themselves. This will help ensure that your children stay safe when using technology. There's no real age that's right or wrong; however, the age of 14 years old it's what's considered by many to be the best time.