How to Determine the Right Time to Give Your Kid a Smartphone

Kid Ready for a SmartphonePIN IT!Let’s face it, we live in a connected era where nearly everyone no matter their age is in some way connected to the Internet either at work, school or home. Those who work in nearly any industry today utilize VoIP phone systems, tablet computers or other web-connected devices that increase productivity and effectiveness. Most schools today are connected via the web to services that allow distance learning and other innovative approaches that increase teacher efficiency in the classrooms of first graders right through to college students.

While at home, we nearly all utilize the web for information and news and to find entertainment on the most popular websites and streaming services. When you put it all together, you quickly realize that the web is at the center of our lives in many respects.

The web offers a tremendous set of benefits that undoubtedly add value to our lives and cause our lives to be enriched. There are however challenges with the web and dangers as well because so much of it is unregulated. Also, there are dark parts of the web that are easy to access. In fact, sometimes without even realizing it, you find yourself in a part of the web that is scary and even dangerous.

Adding to this is the ability for individuals and companies to act anonymously or take on a false identity when trying to interact with us. Often times we cannot be sure exactly who we are communicating with on the other end of an internet connection.

For this reason, determining when to give our kids smartphones and allow them to go online is a serious topic that needs much serious thought and planning.

Is Your Kid Ready for a Smartphone?

Your child having a smartphone can be a great thing. You can always stay in contact with them, you always know where they are and they can be easily reached in an emergency situation. It can also teach them about responsibility.

Of course, there are many downsides potentially as well. Young people tend to spend too much time on smartphones chatting. There are the issues with online bullying that keep getting worse, and cell phones can be distractions taking them away from family time and doing important chores and school work. Also, a smartphone can allow them access to information that you would never condone.

One of the things to determine is if your kid is ready for a smartphone. To figure this out you need to be realistic about the level of maturity your young has. This is more important than looking at a specific age of the child. Does the young person follow your instructions and uses good judgment? Is the young person responsible and takes care of their things.

Remember a smartphone is a high price purchase item that is a smaller device that can easily be lost. Does your young person use good common sense and is not easily led? Answering these questions honestly can help you determine if and when your child is ready to have the responsibility of a smartphone. If you find that your son or daughter lacks the maturity or discipline you should hold off on getting the smartphone and have a conversation with him or her about how they can work their way towards you buying them one. Discuss what they need to do and set realistic goals that they can achieve with your support.

Use a Service Like Verizon to Monitor Their Smartphone Use

If you determine that they do have the maturity and discipline, you still need to take precautions. Even the savviest adult can find that an internet connected smartphone is a hard to tame device, and naive young people often fall prey to online evils.
Verizon offers the Family Tech Initiative that helps parents to monitor their kid’s phone usage and gives them an ability to understand how they are using their phones. Finally, parents can intervene in their smartphone usage if they feel things are not to their liking. The service specifically empowers parents with the ability to:

  • Know where their kids are at all times using GPS tracking.
  • Know who their kids are speaking with and texting.
  • See how much data they are using up to the minute.
  • Remote locking of their kid’s smartphone phones.

These Verizon features put parents in the know and help them to monitor both their kids and their smartphone use. The service also helps kids to become more organized with software that can help them sync their smartphones with other devices and create schedules with reminders. By using a service like the @verizonFamily tech Initiative, you can give your kids the best benefits of smartphones without the downsides.

Smartphones are great devices that can add lots of important benefits to the lives of all of us including young people. Take a responsible approach with them and utilize services like Verizon’s Family Tech Initiative and the smartphone experience will be a safe and rewarding one for your child and you. #verizontechfamily

“Though this post is sponsored by Verizon, all thoughts and opinions are my own.”

  • Ron

    Thanks for this thoughtful article! It can be a real challenge to decide when a kid is mature enough to have a smart phone. My nephew has grown up around technology, and he can navigate a smart phone better than I can. That doesn’t mean he should have his own… It is nice to know that there are services helping parents figure out how to set boundaries for technology. Great post, Jess!