At what age should kids start to have mobile phones of their own? Not that this is a dilemma for our family now. But given that our son now habitually sends SMS to his papa everyday he is out as they send each other sweet nothings, I know that it is just a matter of time that this little guy would want to have his very own cell phone.
I personally used to frown upon very young children with cell phones. But I figured parents have legitimate reasons for allowing their children to lug around with mobile phones. In the event that they will have to leave them somewhere and needs to have an instant form of communication with their children.
This thought brought me right back to one of On Becoming Babywise’s Principle, which is “Freedom Comes with Responsibility.” Nothing can be more practical than that. With that incorporated in our parenting style, I think we will not hand our son a mobile phone unless he learns to be responsible with things, which he is, to some degree already are. We really cannot hand him a phone he could keep before he is able to conceptualize the value of things. Simply put, if he constantly misplaces his regular things, giving him a piece of technology, no matter how basic, will just not make sense at all.
Having said that, being confident that our son has learned has to pack away his stuff before he turned one, does that give us the confidence to give him a phone now that he’s five? I really don’t think so. First, he is rarely out of my sight. If I leave the house, he is with my folks, who I can call anytime I need to. So there really is no need yet. If at all, I might have to hand him a phone when he goes to regular school. But even then, I don’t believe I should give him a smart phone. We are going to have to stick to the mobile’s purpose. But that will be far down the road. This is also aside from the fact that experts warn against children’s use of mobile phones for potential health risks.
All that said, more than the age, the child’s maturity level, the purpose (child’s safety and ease the concerns of the parents) and the child’s responsibility should all be factored in when it comes to allowing children to lug around with their own mobile phones.