What age should kids get phones? – Yuvi, age 10, Dayton, Ohio
If it seems like all your friends have smartphones, you may be on to something. A new report by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that reports on technology and media for children, found that by the age of 11, more than half of kids in the U.S. have their own smartphone. By age 12, more than two-thirds do, and by 14, teens are just as likely as adults to own a smartphone. Some kids start much younger. Nearly 20% of 8-year-olds have their own smartphone!
So, what’s the right age for you? Well, I study the effects of media and technology on kids, and I’m here to say that there is no single right answer to this question. The best I can offer is this: When both you and your parents feel the time is right.
How to talk to your parents about a smartphone
Here are some points to consider to help you and your parents make this decision.
Responsibility: Have you shown that you are generally responsible? Do you keep track of important belongings? Do you understand the value of money, and can you save up to buy things you want? These are all good signs that you may be ready for a phone. If not, it might be wise to wait a bit longer.
Safety: Do you travel to or from school or after-school activities without an adult? This is when phones often go from a “want” to a “need.” Sometimes parents report that they feel better knowing they can reach their children directly, and that their kids can reach them, too.
Social maturity: Do you treat your friends with kindness and respect? Do you understand the permanence of the internet, the fact that once something goes out onto the web, it can never truly be deleted? It is critically important that you have a grasp on these issues before you own a smartphone.