When should We give a Mobile Phone to Our Child ?
If you have a child who’s now turning to their early or late teens. And if you are worried about this, then you are not alone. Most parents feel the same thing, especially when their child is nearing the 10th OR 12th Class.
Most of the Children who have reached this age group tend to demand one thing: to have their own Mobile Phone.
But There is a point: the fact that your child has already made that demand does not mean they really need the Mobile Phone.
What to Consider Before Getting Your Child their Own Phone?
Of course, they would tell you that their social life, or at least their privacy, will be compromised if they still do not have their own phone till now.
As a teenager, it is pretty normal for your child to emphasize their boundaries and start demanding their privacy.
However, as they enter the stage of independence; you, as a parent would still feel the need to monitor their social activities and keep in touch with them. Besides, if your child says they are independent, that does not necessarily mean they will do just fine by themselves.
This means that parental guidance is still highly advisable, as they are still highly prone to making wrong decisions, especially with the influence of the internet. With all those polarizing choices, you have to consider a few things first before you settle on a final decision.
How mature is my child?
Before anything else, keep in mind that age is not the only determinant of whether your kids can have their own Mobile Phones or not. It has something to do with social awareness.
A fifteen-year-old child can be more socially aware than a nineteen-year-old teen. Likewise, a fifteen-year-old teen can be a little bit less mature than a thirteen-year-old. This means that thirteen-year-olds can handle and manage their social life better.
So how do you determine how “mature” and qualified (not old) your child is to handle their social life? You might want to ask these questions to yourself:
- How well can my teens discipline themselves in terms of screen time?
- How technologically savvy are they?
- Are they aware that their future employers, university admission authorities, and their colleagues can possibly see everything they post on social media?
- How quick are they in picking up social cues? (This is very important because if they’re slow to catch on to these cues, they might constantly message their friends “hey” without understanding why none of them responds.)
- How well do they handle money? (This is another important question to ponder, as they might be impulsively spending on a gaming app, messaging app, and any other online services without considering all of their costs.)
- How often do they lose things? (It does not matter how expensive or cheap the thing is. The point here is how careful and mindful your child is.)
- Do they have any struggles in their academic tasks?
What if my child has ADHD?
ADHD – Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a condition that makes it unusually difficult for children to concentrate, to pay attention, to sit still, to follow directions, and to control impulsive behaviour. While all young children are at times distractible, restless, and oblivious to parents’ and teachers’ instructions, kids with ADHD behave this way much more often than other children their age. And their inability to settle down, focus, and follow through on tasks in age-appropriate ways makes it very hard for them to do what’s expected of them at school. It can also lead to conflict at home and difficulty getting along with peers.
Kids who are suffering from ADHD get constantly distracted from the mental and emotional stimulation caused by excessive screen time. To give you an idea of what ADHD is, children who are struggling with ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have extreme difficulty concentrating on their tasks, paying attention, and controlling their impulses.
Experts have said that the excessive amount of time these children spend on their phones, tablet, or computer may possibly aggravate their symptoms. No matter what age or educational attainment that child has, he or she may still suffer from the impending consequences of prolonged screen time.
So if you are a parent of a kid suffering from ADHD, you have to make them aware of its impending risks as much as you are aware of them.
Children suffering from ADHD symptoms also find it hard to stay focused on tasks that are boring and less reinforcing but more important. They also find it hard to sit still during an important dinner conversation.
This only implies that the more they use their phones, the more they are encouraged to do more stimulating tasks – thus making them more impulsive than they were.
Is my child cooperative and disciplined?
Your child’s attitude often determines how willing they are to cooperate with your set of rules. However, you also have to assure them that your rules would not cross their boundaries in any way. With that, you can be sure that your child will trust you and be honest with you.
Also, your child’s attitude offline may also determine their online behaviours. If you have observed how impulsive they always were, then there is a high chance they could also act that way when making online purchases. They might only post things online without any forethought.
Can I prevent them from getting addicted to their Mobile Phones?
As a parent, you might want to know how to help your kid avoid phone addiction (to the point that they sacrifice their other important activities. At the same time, you also do not want to limit them for so long. Therefore, throughout the time that you deprived them of their social activities, make sure you were able to let them understand why.
You can not just confiscate their phones without calmly explaining to them why you did that. In that way, they would be more than willing to participate in the process. If you have observed a significant amount of improvement in their behaviour and lifestyle, it might be the best time to give their phone back to them.
Also, when it is time for them to have their phone back, you can assure yourself that they will be better and more responsible social media users.
Regardless, smartphones and other devices can be used as reinforcements. When your child fails to concentrate during their tutorial classes, you may use their phones as motivators too. You may tell your kid to finish studying an entire chapter first before giving them their phone back.
Also, you should not just give them their phone without moderating their online activities and limiting their screen time. Although minimal, parental supervision is still a must for your teens.
Parenting can be tough in this modern time, especially in this era of technology. Luckily, we have some resources that will hopefully help you out from this type of problems, we update articles about Parenting regularly.