Smartphone & Pre-teensThis is a guest blog by Amy Williams –  a journalist based in Southern California. As a mother of two, she has learned a lot of things the hard way, and hopes to use her experience as a parent to help other parents raise their children to be the best that they can be.* No matter how much you may fear your child growing up, they will inevitably one day need a mobile phone. This can place a parent in a precarious situation as they question, ‘How is the best way to introduce a Smartphone to my pre-teen so they use it responsibly?’ Parents need to consider a child’s maturity, responsibility and social skills. Guiding your child to Smartphone ownership through baby steps can certainly pay off in the end by providing opportunities to gain experience and responsibility.**

Building Responsibility To Smartphone Ownership

  1. Allow your child to take over chores or responsibilities. Have your child prove they can handle chores, taking care of pets, or setting their own alarm clock.
  2. Give them access to social media accounts and monitor their online activity. It sounds scary, but imagine what might happen if you hand over unlimited access 24 hours a day on a Smartphone with no supervision. This will allow you to judge their maturity by viewing their posts.
  3. If all goes well, allow them access to a ‘dumb’ mobile phone. Items get lost or broken so allow them to learn these lessons on a cheap version that can easily be replaced.
  4. Finally, purchase a Smartphone only when there is a real need.

There is no perfect magic age or milestone to know when your pre-teen is ready for a Smartphone.*** Knowing your child and their responsibility is the key to understanding this process. Just remember, that this new technology can connect parents and children by fostering easy communication.

*https://www.lookout.com/resources/reports/smartphone-family-guide

**http://www.teensafe.com/blog/smartphones/7-steps-ease-tween-smartphone/

***http://blog.laptopmag.com/kids-smartphones-right-age

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net