What to Consider When Getting Your Child a First Phone
Parents often wonder when the right time is for their child to have their first phone – but there is not a one-size-fits-all answer since it’s a decision for each family to make. However, according to a UScellular survey, both parents and non-parents think, on average, that 13 is an appropriate age for a child to have their first phone.
Getting a phone can be an important step for kids to become more independent. It can also help teach important lessons about staying connected with friends and family, being safe online and even responsible budgeting if they’re paying for their own device.
When thinking about a first phone for a child, here are three things to consider:
The cost of the device and monthly service can be a big part of the decision for getting a child their first phone. Many parents can add their son or daughter to their existing monthly family plan.
Another option to teach responsible budgeting and encourage independence for new phone users is prepaid wireless service. Parents can buy a prepaid phone for their child and monitor usage to see if they are using it responsibly. It’s also easy for parents to set up their old phone on a prepaid line to ensure their child is responsible with their device before spending money on a new one.
Wireless phones can be a great way to help parents and kids feel connected when they are not together. A first phone can bring independence but it’s also important for parents and kids to agree on how the phone is used. From the survey, nearly 9 out of 10 parents reported monitoring their child’s phone usage, with app usage (85%) and time spent on the phone (68%) as the most commonly monitored areas. UScellular has a personalized parent-child agreement that helps make sure both parents and children see eye-to-eye.
If a child needs simple features to stay in touch via texting and calling, a basic phone is a great option. Many have long-lasting battery life and are very durable. If the family wants their child to have an internet-connected smartphone that provides access to mobile apps and the ability to monitor their child and manage data usage, there are many options and price points for devices.
There are a few basic guidelines parents can consider when helping their kids navigate social media safely.
Adding parental controls and securing connected devices is important to help prevent children in the house from accessing inappropriate content and managing privacy.