“Should I buy my child a cell phone?” is a question that parents often have. The problem with the question is that there is no clear-cut, well-defined answer. There are multiple things to consider and because every child and every situation is different, you may not be able to find a perfect answer.
However, there are multiple things that you should consider that will help you determine if you should buy your child a cell phone. Here are some of the things you will want to consider:
How Independent Are Your Kids?
If you have a child who is independent and who you allow to go from place to place at his or her leisure, perhaps you will want to have a better understanding of where he or she is. You also may want for him or her to have easy access to be able to call you in a pinch when he or she is away from home.
How Responsible is Your Child?
A cell phone can be a big (and expensive) commitment. The last thing you will want is to have your child lose or break an expensive smartphone. Perhaps the best course of action is to give your child an inexpensive feature phone to use at first. If your child shows that he or she is able to care for the feature phone, then you may want to consider buying a smartphone. Of course, we encourage you to buy a case for any smartphone you purchase.
Does Your Child Grasp Limits?
You’ve probably heard horror stories about children who have gone way, way over on minutes, data or texts to the chagrin of their parents. When determining if you should buy a cell phone for your child, you will want to consider how well your child is able to grasp the concept that he or she cannot simply use the phone for whatever he or she wants whenever he or she wants.
Do You Trust Your Child?
You may trust your child, but do you trust him or her to be responsible enough with a cell phone so that he or she doesn’t use the phone at places where the phone shouldn’t be used? If you think your child can’t make it through school without sneaking in a text or two, perhaps he or she is not yet ready.
Are You Ready to Pay?
In addition to simply buying a phone, you also need to be prepared to pay more for a voice plan, a texting plan, a data plan, accessories, etc. If you are not prepared for the extra costs, perhaps it’s not the best time to buy your child a phone.