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How young is too young?

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  • How young is too young?

    I see a dilemma in my future, especially with where technology and social media are/are heading, and the power of these devices--for good and bad.

    Begs the question: How young is too young to have a smart phone?

    And its corollary: At what age should a child have a smart phone?


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  • #2
    Old school method: Middle school (practice ended early or such) if they need it and high school for social purposes.
    Interesting to see the the jump at age 14.
    Old school is that phones weren't smart when my kids were that age. Phone and text then. Really old!

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    • #3
      If it were up to me, 18. I'll probably get outvoted by my wife.

      If kids only understood how much better it was to be 16 with a car and no tracking device.

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      • #4
        My daughter received a smart phone only in 9th grade

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        • #5
          30% of 8 year olds?!?

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          • #6
            My 13 yo got a phone ( one of our old ones) for his birthday. He doesn't have social media though.

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            • #7
              In my not-so-humble opinion, under age 16 is too young (and waiting until age 18 would be better). Smartphones take all the downsides of the internet (and especially of social media) and ramp it up to 11.

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              • #8
                one of my old partners had a pretty good approach to this with his middle school aged kids who had phones:

                1. it's not your phone, it's my phone that you borrow during the day
                2. no phones in bedrooms or bathrooms (i think this one is absolutely critical)
                3. when you get home from school phone goes on charger in the foyer, if you want to check it go to the foyer
                4. mom or dad can look at the phone at any point
                5. if you don't like rules 1-4 you can avoid all of them by not having a phone at all

                honestly i think there is a tech solution coming on this. i don't really care if my kids text with their friends when they are old enough but it seems like having phones that could send only text (no pics or vid, no social media) would be a really good thing.

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                • #9
                  For some kids when you withhold, they have a quantitative hyper response when finally given the device.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by artemis View Post
                    In my not-so-humble opinion, under age 16 is too young (and waiting until age 18 would be better). Smartphones take all the downsides of the internet (and especially of social media) and ramp it up to 11.
                    For us it was a practical thing-- starting in 7th grade he wanted the freedom to roam the streets after school with his friends, spontaneously end up at someone's house or whatever and I wanted that for him too! While being able to know where he was easily. We tried the watch but he wouldn't ever wear it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MPMD View Post
                      one of my old partners had a pretty good approach to this with his middle school aged kids who had phones:

                      1. it's not your phone, it's my phone that you borrow during the day
                      2. no phones in bedrooms or bathrooms (i think this one is absolutely critical)
                      3. when you get home from school phone goes on charger in the foyer, if you want to check it go to the foyer
                      4. mom or dad can look at the phone at any point
                      5. if you don't like rules 1-4 you can avoid all of them by not having a phone at all

                      honestly i think there is a tech solution coming on this. i don't really care if my kids text with their friends when they are old enough but it seems like having phones that could send only text (no pics or vid, no social media) would be a really good thing.
                      I am surprised there is not a "kids" phone that is slaved to a parent model where you can control and view what is happening. Maybe this exists and I don't know about it. My kids will not be getting phones anytime soon.

                      Maybe a Switch, but I might be more excited for that!

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                      • #12
                        I recommend installing the Life360 app. It’s a game changer for tracking your kids in real time.

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                        • #13
                          You cannot seriously expect an adolescent in 2020s to grow and mature in their most formative years - socially, emotionally - without a phone. So that would be a reasonable time to have a smartphone.

                          Otherwise, it would be analogous to putting someone in jail in solitary confinement.

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                          • #14
                            Our school district has a recommended “wait ‘til 8” policy where they recommend no personal cell phones until 8th grade. I let my eldest know that I’d be more than happy to let him use a cell phone that his mom and dad own, supervise, and maintain once he earns First Class Scout rank in Boy Scouts or starts 8th grade, subject to maintaining a 3.0+ (unweighted) GPA. No turning off GPS location (Find My) or he loses the phone for a half
                            tear or more.

                            I think there’s a pretty good use case for a Tracphone, Jitterbug, or one of those geolocation wrist watches for kindergartners that only let you call mom and dad but give up your current location to mom and dad. It’s kind of like the car offer that I made to my son:

                            ”Once you get your driver’s license you can have the Prius. There’s enough space that you could get laid in it, but it’s a Prius, so you won’t.”

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                            • #15
                              I did the smart watch that can only call parents for a bit (easy basic "tech" that works even around 5yrs and under)... particularly nice in relationship with parents shared custody. After that, around kindergarten or soon after, add the ipad type (basically become a YouTube machine) or a flip phone with data turned off (wifi only).

                              I would say around 11years is smart phone age now (start of middle school). It is just like internet or video games or porn or anything... if you forbid it or filter it or demonize it, they just find it anyway and want it more (and resent you more). If you allow it but tell them the pitfalls, it works. Watch out for the in-game buys on the video games... make sure their phone is not simply hooked up to the mobile account!

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