How old were you when you bought your first cellphone? What about your kids? Grandkids? Last year, the research firm Influence Central found that the average age for children to get their first phone was 10.3 years old!
The firm only surveyed 500 women but that age got a lot of people talking and wondering if there is a “right age.” Different experts have offered their opinion but of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
When it comes to Bill Gates’ household, he and his wife, Melinda, have decided that 14 is the right age. During a recent interview with “Mirror,” Gates also said that he doesn’t allow phones at the dinner table and limits screen time before his youngest child goes to bed.
“You’re always looking at how it can be used in a great way – homework and staying in touch with friends – and also where it has gotten to excess,” said Gates.
His oldest, Jennifer, is 20, his son Rory is 17, and his youngest, Phoebe is 14. He said his kids did complain when other children received phones at younger ages.
Maybe age 14 is too old for your family’s needs. You could have mature children. Or being able to contact them puts your mind at ease. No matter what age your children are, here are some tips for maintaining control over the situation.
Limit screen time
As Gates mentioned, finding a balance between healthy phone use and excessive use is important. One app that can help you do that is unGlue. It allows you to set daily limits on internet and app use across all of your children’s devices. Your child gets a time bank and they can do chores to earn minutes. Click here to read more about unGlue.
Track their location
Having a phone can be a big responsibility for kids and you might fear that your loveable troublemaker can’t handle it. The Phone Tracker app will show you your child’s GPS location, the websites they’ve visited, the calls they’ve made or received, and text messages. Click here to learn more about this app.
Buy them an inexpensive phone
Safety and peace of mind don’t have to be expensive. There are cheap smartphones that have good cameras and a decent amount of storage place. Plus, with a two-year contract, you can get some smartphones for free.
Be aware of threats
From cyberbullying to sexting, there are some serious dangers that come along with children owning smartphones and having constant access to the internet and each other. Criminal charges are a real possibility. Talk to your kids about these topics and keep abreast of their secret lingo.
Gates talked about a lot of other topics during his interview with “Mirror.” Click here to read the whole article.