A YouthBeat survey from the first six months of 2012 found that 13% of children ages 6 to 10 already own one and that 12 is the most common age for that first device. 18% of kids get theirs at that age. Middle school is the clear-cut time according to Gwenn O’Keeffe, a pediatrician who last year co-wrote an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report on children and social media. She reported, “There’s a huge developmental leap between fourth and eighth grades.” Of course many experts will still say that it still depends on many factors. Here are factors most often to consider when making that crucial decision:
Here are some factors for parents to consider offered by PBS Parents Magazine:
How independent are your kids?
Do your children “need” to be in touch for safety reasons — or social ones?
How responsible are they?
Can they be trusted not to text during class, disturb others with their conversations, and to use the text, photo, and video functions responsibly (and not to embarrass or harass others)?
Can they get behind the concept of limits for minutes talked and number of texts or do they need an inexpensive, unlimited text and talk plan like Page Plus offers?Other points to consider:
Do they lose things easily or forget them?
Do they understand that the device is not a toy and not something that can be replaced at will, over and over without a great expense?
Are they aware of the potentials of invasion of privacy or security and identification breaches?
Can they take care of technology?
When will your child be ready? At the end of the day it still depends on your child’s level of maturity, responsibility and need and guess what? Once the cell phone conversation ends, the ‘when to get a car’ question is right around the corner.
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