If a smartphone is at the top of your kiddo’s wishlist this holiday season, you might want to consider what an expert has to say about the age when kids are ready for smartphones before you click purchase.
According to a survey by Influence Central, the average age when kids receive their first phone has dropped to a new low of 10.3 years old. The previous average was 12 in 2012. USA Today recently interviewed Scott Steinberg, author of Parenting High-Tech Kids: The Ultimate Internet, Web, and Online Safety Guide, to get his expert opinion on kids’ use of smartphones. Steinberg says that every parent needs to determine what age is appropriate for their own child to have their first phone, “But realistically, if you need a good rule of thumb, a fine baseline is 13 years of age.”
In order to gauge if your own child is ready, Steinberg says it’s important to consider when they really need a phone. “When they’re going to be so far outside your oversight or outside of ready accessibility, when they start going off doing activities, camps, or they need to be able to get in touch with you but can’t, that’s a possibility for when you can introduce it.”
No matter what age kids begin to have their own phones parents should stay involved in their digital lives, advises Steinberg. Have conversations with your child and keep up with the latest trends in apps and technology.
At what age do you think kids are ready for a smartphone? Share your thoughts in the comments below.