Picture from 4 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Child a Smartphone
Most school age kids are anxious to have their own smartphone if for no other reason than to fit in with the crowd. Image ©dollar Photo Club/SergiyN

4 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Child a Smartphone

Smartphones may seem like a good way for parents and children to keep in touch during the day. But like all technology, these devices come with positive and negative aspects. Determining when to give your child a smartphone can be a big decision. The TeenSafe organization suggests the following questions to help parents confirm if their children are ready for their own device.

Have you set limits for digital device use and does your child understand and respect these limits?

Does your child need a phone to stay in contact with you in case of an emergency?

Can they be trusted not to use the phone during inappropriate times, like class?

Have you laid the foundation for responsible smartphone behavior and talked with them about sexting?

“One area that is often overlooked in this decision is when parents are prepared to help teach their child how to use the smartphone,” Sarita Schoenebeck, assistant professor at the University of Michigan said. “You can’t hand a child a smartphone and expect them to know how to use it in a healthy and responsible way automatically — parents need to be ready to support their children the way they would when introducing any new technology or activity into their child’s life.”

Buying a device for your child is the first step, but following up with ongoing education on how to wisely use a smartphone is even more important.