We wish we could say this was an ‘age-old’ dilemma, but that wouldn’t be too accurate. Smartphones have only recently come on to the scene, within the last 15 years or so, but their impact has been astounding. Not just with advancements in communication between adults, smartphones have now made their way into the hands of adolescents and children, bringing up a valid conundrum for parents every where: should I allow my child to have and/or use a smartphone?
See, the problem is, once they go off to school, many of the other kids will more than likely have them. Schools also have much more technology driven curriculums, with the use of more up-to-date laptops and tablets, so it’s not like your child won’t be immersed in the tech culture. So how do you balance this give and take as a parent? And at what age should you allow your child access to a smartphone?
Lisa Bunnage is a parenting coach who emphasizes smartphone safety and what it means. Her take is that smartphones can be great for adolescents 15 years of age and above, since they can remain interactive with their school and teachers via social media and online platforms. But, she reminds us about the dangers of internet as well. She suggests not allowing your kids, no matter the age, to have access to the internet on their devices 24-7, or wherever they go. Bunnage also suggests using parental blocks is a great way to keep your child from accessing something inappropriate. Going to your cellphone provider and asking for patronal block options may be your best bet if your child has a smartphone.