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Friday, April 26, 2013

How young is too young for children to have an iphone?

iPhone 4
photo isn't mine
There is a lot of controversy in the media about what is the best age for children to have their own iPhone. For every person who says that it is OK for them to have one at 9, there are just as many people who believe that it is not OK  and that they should wait until they are 15. Really there are a lot of factors to take into account, such as the maturity of the child, what they phone will be used for, and the personal views of the parent. Every single child is different, and every circumstance is different, so there is no clear answer to the question without looking at the individual child. 

 For some parents they feel that their child is not responsible enough until they are about 15, or in high school, whichever comes first. This poses the question about when children are responsible enough to be the caretaker of a piece of technology such as an iPhone. Basically, an iPhone is a computer, so we need to think about what age we would be happy for our children to have a computer of their own. Because of the applications on an iPhone that make it possible to go on the internet, whether they are old enough to have a phone is similar to the argument about whether they are old enough to have a computer. The same threats of them running into something that might be inappropriate for a young child, still exist with the iPhone, as well as for a computer. Having said that, there are ways of putting parental controls onto the iPhone, so parents are able to ensure a level of parental control over how their child uses the it. Some ten year old children are much more mature than other ten year old children, so this might mean that they would use the iPhone more responsibly than others of the same age. 

 There is also the question of whether their friends will use it responsibly. Pressure from their peers may over-ride their mature ways of thinking in the moment and they may end up behaving in ways that they wouldn’t normally, just because they are amongst their friends. There have been stories of children taking their iPhone to sleepovers and their friends using up all their credit in the one night. This is a risk that could be avoided through using suitable parental controls. 

 On the upside, the child can also enjoy the benefit of having something that is personal to them. With Vistaprint’s iphone 5 covers that personalize the phone specifically to the person, the iPhone can become an extension of the child's personality and allow them to express their personality in a way that is unique for them. The child can choose a picture that they love and have it as a cover on their phone, which would give them an extra incentive to keep it safe and look after it.

12 valuable thoughts they wrote, what's yours?:

April M. said...

for security reasons, i think i will let my son have a phone strictly just for phone calls at the age of 7. I am very paranoid and i wanna feel secure that he can call me whenever he needs me. right now, he have an iPad mini and i bet he is very much contented with it.

Travel Quest said...

If they can't pay their own phone bill then they are to young to have one he he... Just kidding :) i don't know maybe case to case basis.

Melinda Dunne said...

I am not against children having phones but I personally think an iPhone is a little much unless they are paying for it. I just got an iPhone for myself I wouldn't provide my child with a better phone than I have. I don't think it is necessary.

MzBaker said...

I honestly think it depends really. An Iphone is something pretty expensive, I wouldn't buy my 9 year old a phone like that. Now at 7 when he went to someones house to spend the night he took a tracfone. I could add minutes when needed. Nothing more than that, I just do not know what age, I guess it depends on the kid!

Cyndie said...

I say when they can work and pay the bill

Andrea said...

My husband and I don't even have a phone really. We have on prepaid phone that we bring in the car in case we break down or something, that's it.

MikiHope said...

It definitely depends on the child and if the parent can deal with making sure the parental controls can not be tampered with! Kids need phones these days--but an iPhone?

Corinne said...

Every family needs to make the decision that is best for them. The only thing I don't agree with is parents who get their kids phone simply because everyone else has them. I think it send the wrong message if you start playing "keep up with the Joneses" as a child. They'll never find happiness if they are always coveting what others have.

Jennifer Williams said...

My oldest son had a cell phone at 9yo, I had just gotten one for my father and he passed away right after. My son clung to it like a life line. However most cases I agree that they should be older, this was a special case for us. He is now 16 and we still lock down every device he gets so he can only do certain things and we require him to give us all his passwords. If he changes them and does not notify us, he loses things.

Mel Cole said...

Me too, I'd like my son to have a phone someday not for peer stuff but for security reasons. I'd rather let him have a cheaper phone than iphones though.

nova hedges said...

Each parent has different decisions and stances about getting their kids phones. It's a matter of how your kids and how the parents compromise about it.

Healy Harpster said...

I would say 10, cellphone is important and as much as possible I want to have access to my kids!

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