When should I let my child have a phone?

The School Run

Oct 31 2022 • 20 mins

When should your child be allowed a phone?

Do what is right for your children. Not you, to make your life easier!

Children are drawn in by trying to do things before they are supposed to. Drinking, smoking etc

Or because all their friends have a phone.

There doesn’t seem to be a right answer, but there are definitely wrong answers.

What were the concerns for our parents? Drinking, smoking,

I’m not a worrier by nature, I’m pretty laid back as a parent, but the digital world scares me.

Why?

  • Innaproriate use of social media, the internet
  • Not having ‘real models’ as I spoke about last week

13 for social media.

Roblox is the most popular online computer game in the UK for under-13s, according to a recent survey.

It's free to use and it's a platform that lets you play millions of different games, or you can build your own game and let other people play it.

It's played by more than 25 million children worldwide and many schools and institutions use it to teach children how to build games online.

But I've been looking into a worrying rise in the number of children finding upsetting and harmful content on the site.

I was playing Roblox and I was on a game where you work at a pizza place and two people were pressuring girls to do inappropriate stuff with them and if they did, they would get extra money in the game.

Girl aged 14

7+ is the age limit.

Then you have Fortnight - 13+ as well.  But the children in Primaries when it came out all knew the dances!

TikTok algorithm.

The notice sets out the ICO's provisional view that TikTok breached UK data protection law between May 2018 and July 2020.

The ICO investigation found the social platform may have:

  • processed the data of children under the age of 13 without appropriate parental consent
  • failed to provide proper information to its users in a concise, transparent and easily understood way
  • processed special category data, without legal grounds to do so

According to Ofcom, 44% of eight to 12-year-olds in the UK use TikTok, despite its policies forbidding under-13s on the platform.

YouTube - Learning how to draw on YouTube

  • Parental controls
  • Give them a phone without the internet.  Izzy is going to be disappointed when she gets her first one, when she’s 18!

The Social Dilemma

The documentary examines how social media's design nurtures addiction to maximize profit and its ability to manipulate people's views, emotions, and behavior and spread conspiracy theories and disinformation.

So social media is a big concern of mine. But also communicating with other children.

What’s app and communicating with their friends.  - what’s app legal age requirement if 16!

Pressure on parents

By the time kids are in middle school, the pressure from kids can be intense, and parents worry that their child will feel isolated if other kids have phones and they don’t. According to Common Sense Media, 42 percent of kids have a phone by age 10. By age 12, it’s 71 percent. By 14, it’s 91 percent.

And so when should your child get the first phone?

At what age should a kid get their first phone?

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Anywhere from 10 to 14, though there are valid reasons to give a child a phone earlier (they commute alone, or switch between two parents’ houses) or later (they’re not mature enough, have shown previous problems with tech overuse). There is not one magic age for every child, but we’ll help you find the sweet spot for your own family. Ultimately, the decision is up to the parent or guardian, who knows the child and their own child-rearing philosophy best.

Mental Health crisis - children using phones in their bedrooms.  Can’t switch off.  Keeping up to date with the latest TikTok, or social media platform

“If we are in a mental health crisis – which we are – and we have some factors that are really hard to change, like our educational system, and some factors that are really technically easy to change, like an algorithm or code, we should,” Radesky told me. “We should work with the tech companies to figure out what settings, what content filters, what guidance would help kids have healthy relationships with these social sites.”

We live in a digital world, and I don’t the girls to miss out on opportunities that might arise in the future that might be around social media and tech, but not at the expense of being a child and having a rich childhood.  There is plenty of time to grow up!  They are only a child once.