Poll: What's the right time to give your kid a smartphone? Results are in!

Poll: What's the right time to give your kid a smartphone?
UPDATE: As some of you have pointed out, it really depends on the circumstances. Generally speaking, though - middle school seems like a good and safe time for a kid (a teenager-to-be) to get a smartphone. Most online platforms have a 13+ age restriction anyway (teenagers, try to keep a teenager away from a smartphone... duh), so that's that. 

We all love our smartphones, right? These little gadgets are serving us well, and yeah, there are horror stories of smartphone addiction, countless digital detox movements, and prophets of the digital apocalypse from all parts of the world but all in all, smartphones are a great tool, an indispensable one, at that.

Just think how cumbersome it would be to navigate a foreign city with a paper map in your hand. Or carry around music players, digital cameras, translators, calculators. The list of gadgets that smartphones have assimilated just goes on and on.

When it comes to children, though - things are starting to get tricky. Children are fragile creatures, and deciding what’s right for them can be quite difficult. Just look at the question in the title - it’s bound to open a giant can of worms.

Pros and cons of getting your kid a smartphone

There are hundreds of studies on the subject, and some of them contradict each other. You can spend days trying to make sense of it, and still find yourself empty-handed. So, let’s try to employ some common sense here.

Obviously, giving your kid a phone opens up a 24/7 communication channel between you and your little heir. The little one can tap into the deep well of the world’s knowledge but then again this is also a con. A kid doesn’t have well-developed critical thinking and may fall victim to all kinds of online monsters - from pure misinformation to digital predators.

And then there’s the gaming debate - most modern mobile games are highly addictive and they run on almost any smartphone. So chances are your kid will be spending hours and hours looking at the screen. Of course, there are ways to limit kids’ exposure to smartphones (Google Family Link and other parental control tools) but giving your kid a smartphone may seem like giving a nuclear weapon to… well, a kid.

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And it’s very subjective - some parents are really careful and try to shield their kids from the online horrors, while others set some ground moral rules and let their kids navigate the digital sea more or less on their own. The average age kids get a phone, according to the statistics, is between 12 and 13, but it's just a mean average that doesn't take into account the extremes.

What's the right time to give your kid a smartphone?

Ages four to six (preschool and younger)
Ages seven to eleven (Kindergarten – 5th grade)
Ages 12 to 14 (middle school)
Ages 15 to 18 (high school)
18+ (no smartphone prior to adulthood)
Other (in the comments)

Let us know what you think. What’s the right time to give your kid a smartphone? I’ll share my own experience here - my son got his first smartphone when he was 8 years old and starting first grade. He’s almost 10 now and we haven’t had any problems with it, other than the little devil begging us to extend his gaming time limit.

Vote in the poll and share your parenting experience in the comments below.

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