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Mobile phones have become an essential part of day to day life. Children see those around them using their phones all the time, so it’s natural that they will start asking you for one of their own. It can be tough as a parent to decide if they are ready for a phone.
To decide if they’re ready, ask yourself some questions first.
Why do they need a phone?
If you want to give them a phone for safety reasons and for you to keep in touch with them? For children who do a lot of after school activities, giving them a phone so you can let them know if their pick-up will be late because you’re caught in traffic or so they can call you if their club is cancelled can be a good idea. They won’t need a smartphone if this is the only reason you want them to have a phone, and can just buy them a very basic phone.
Do they respect your rules?
If your child is already struggling to obey the rules at school or at home, then the responsibility of a mobile phone is probably not a good idea. To keep them safe when using a phone. You will to set ground rules for when and how they use it. If you can’t trust them to follow those rules, then they aren’t ready for a phone.
What are their social skills like?
Think about how your child currently communicates. Are they comfortable maintaining conversation? Are they observant in social situations or do they find it a little difficult? A lack of social skills will only be made worse by a phone. They may struggle to maintain real-life contact if they can disappear into group chats or social media, so think carefully before allowing them a phone.
Are they responsible with their belongings?
Phones aren’t cheap, so you child will need to take care of theirs if you buy one. How are they at looking after their things? Are they always leaving things at school, losing things or forgetting them? Do they drop things or leave them lying around? Before buying a child a phone make sure they know how to care for their belongings so you don’t have to replace it immediately after they’ve dropped it or left it on the school bus.
Giving your child their first mobile phone is a big decision. It can be hard to say no if they’re asking all the time. Talk to them about the decision so they understand if they need to change their behaviour to earn a phone, for example by showing you that they can be more responsible for their belongings.
If they are ready, you can Compare Mobile Phone Deals to find the right option for them. Talk to them about their phone use and make sure you don’t just hand over the phone and leave them to it. Make sure they’re using it well and they can use the phone to show you how grown up they can be.
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