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Parent Must Know! What Age Should A Kid Get A Phone?

I repeatedly get asked, "What age should I allow my child to have a phone?" This is the question on everybody's mind. This digital thing, we know that it can be addicting. We know that it can disconnect family relationships. We know that it can dump too much dopamine on their brains so that they have adverse reactions to that. 

We know that it could stop thinking patterns. It can lessen their attention spans. There are so many different things. These phones lead to suicide, they lead to addictions like sexual addiction, social immediate addictions. All these different things. So, parents are concerned about this. Everybody wants to know "When do you give the child the phone?" That's the golden question. 

Well, we're going to talk about that in this article. When cell phones first came out, they were a specialty item, right? Remember the big bricks? I remember sitting at a baseball game watching my brother play baseball. And there was this guy with big brick and he was talking to somebody I think he was a real estate agent or something like that. And all of the children were like, "Whoa! That's so cool." 

Then came the flip phone, you know? How super cool and the slight phones and all the different phones that we've had over the years. But as soon as the smartphone hit, things changed. People started passing down those old flip phones and slide phones and blackberries to their children. And then when the next generation of smartphones came out, all of a sudden the first generation started getting passed to the children. 

No one was ever even thinking about what would happen to the brains of the people especially the children if they were on phones for a steady amount of the day. It just seemed like a nice thing to do. The children liked the phones so why not give them the phones because it would make them happy. The thing is we are living in a time of a huge social experiment. 

There has never been another era in the world where children have been raised on a steady diet a digital stimulation. Never. There's never been an era of time in the world where children have talked to each other live person-to-person less than they are doing now. This is a social experiment. It is dangerous. Because it absolutely can ruin their social skills. 

So, at what age should a child receive a cell phone? I don't like that question. I like the question "When is a child ready for this adult tool called a cell phone?" Because I've always taught my children: The digital devices phones, iPods, computers, those are tools, not toys. And if you look at them as a toy, you're not ready for them. 

They have to be respected as a tool. As if you had a saw in your pocket. Not a phone. If you had a sharp knife hanging out in your pocket you would be careful with it every time you moved it around. You would calculate your actions. You would plan your movements and then you would put it back to safety. 

The same thing needs to happen with a cell phone. If not, that cell phone can control them. So, I would rather hear a question about when a person is ready to have a tool like that. Rather than just slapping on an arbitrary age on the topic. In our family, I've told my children that they don't get to have a cell phone until they are completely self-governing. And completely is probably a little extreme to say. Because none of us are fully done self-governing ourselves until well forever. 

Because it's a constant process because we have weaknesses and things we want to overcome about ourselves. But a person can show that they've got a pretty good handle on self-government by always following instructions, accepting no answers, choosing the right when there's a choice between right and wrong. 

Choosing good when there's a choice between good and bad. And following truth instead of just whatever the popular possibly even false ideas are they're out there in the day. So, my child has to be at a certain level developmentally. This could happen in a variety of Ages. It could happen when a person is 16. 

It could happen when a person is 18 or 17. But you know what? It's never going to happen before 16 at my house. And this means they're never going to have a phone that they own before age 16 at my house. Especially a smartphone. It's not going to happen. Because smartphones have too much capability to control them. And smartphone providers are starting to get pickier about what they will allow parents to filter and know about on their child's phone. 

Which then makes it less likely that parents are gonna even feel comfortable giving their children these devices. If the parents can't keep them safe, how can a parent just turn them over to a gadget? Years ago, our family developed a solution to the problem of there's not always a phone nearby but we don't want our child to actually own a cell phone of their own. 

So, we don't live in a day and age of payphones anymore. And that makes it harder to get a hold of children. Some homes that they go to some of their friends or maybe people that they might be visiting or even babysitting for. Or even a workplace might not even have a landline phone. So, how are we gonna get a hold of our children if there isn't a cell phone? This is the problem that a lot of parents face. Well, we decided to think outside of the box on it. 

We thought, "Okay, we can have a phone for our children but that phone does not belong to the children and it's not going to be a fully functional smartphone." Because they don't need that yet. They just need to be able to be called and to call us and maybe be able to send us a text from time to time. Maybe they need to know what the time is. And hey, if they could take a picture, that's great too, right? But that's about it. 

That's all they need when they're young. So, when our children are young, they can check out or use the kid's phone. That's what we call it. And for years and years, it has been an old flip phone. We got the second one that we bought for $10. Those phones actually do exist. 

They keep them in the back room of the stores. You do still have to turn off the data on some of them and make sure that data is not accessible if you don't want your child to access it. And sometimes those phones cannot even participate in group texts and can't send certain pictures in a text sometimes. But that's fine. 

So, we got one of those phones and our children have used those phones for years until they got old enough where they could buy their own phone and it was approved. And honestly, so far, everyone's just gotten their own phone at age 18. Except for my youngest son Porter. Recently the flip phone died. Porter's 16 now. And when the phone died, we looked at each other and thought, "Do we get another flip phone?" I mean they're cheap. 

We could. Or we could get a gab phone. I think gab phones are a great option. If you've heard of those especially for younger children. And they look like the smartphone so they seem kind of cool but they don't have all of the functionality that would make it so that the child could get into trouble on the device. And we said, "You know, this boy is so self-governing." He follows instructions all the time. He accepts no answers. 

He is so dutiful and he's so respectful with our home computer with devices. We've never had him sneak anything. He's never even watched a television show without permission. He just doesn't do that at any 16 years old. This boy is probably old enough to govern a cell phone. 

So, we actually got him a smartphone. There are restrictions on this. So, we've got some apps like the web safety app that's on the phone that's hooked to my phone. I can see everything he sees, everything that he does on that phone. The phone even tracks him where he goes. If he's at a friend's house or on a jog around the neighborhood, I know where he's at. And it tracks him on social media. But social media, that's probably for another day but my children don't have social media until they're 18 years old. 

There's just no need. I don't like to exploit my children and I don't like them to get in the habit of exploiting themselves. They shouldn't. So, many of the different apps platforms, games, social media exploits children, exploit adults too. But at least we step into it more knowingly. We have to keep our children safe which means we have to give them no answers. 

So, the question really is when are they ready? And individually, you'll have to determine what that is for you. But for us, it's if they can govern themselves. And if they can follow those instructions and accept those no answers from parents. Cell phones definitely relate to social and the children want to have a social life. But they don't just need restrictions with cell phones or rules with cell phones. They need a lot of other social skills. 

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