Cell phones for kids is a touchy subject!
A parent knows their own child the best and they are by far the best people to determine whether or not a child is ready for a cell phone regardless of the information below
While there are many reasons why a child shouldn’t have a phone.
The good news is that if the parents are willing to be diligent about monitoring and keeping track of their child’s phone usage the benefits many times outweigh the risks.
Although this is a list of why kids should have phones it is with the understanding that we are recommending a phone without social media apps or other apps that will not benefit younger children.
While it may be difficult for a child to understand the reasons to exclude their favorite apps, it must be done in order for the list below to be advantageous.
For more information on how to help children with behavior issues, see our article How To Help A Child With Behavior Problems At School
It is our belief that social media apps and other public communication apps should be reserved for more mature teens and young adults
With that being said, here are the reasons why kids should have cell phones.
Why Kids Should Have Phones
- Great for communicating when a child walks or rides the bus home from school
- Kids feel safer knowing that they can call parents anytime.
- Family phone numbers can be programed into phone to display on home screen for quick and easy calling
- Parents also feel better knowing that they can contact their child at anytime
- Enabling the tracking feature on the child’s phones allows the parent to know where their child is at all times. (As long as the phone is powered on)
- A child can call to be picked up if there is a change in plans or an emergency
- Allows child to call 911 in case of an emergency
- Aggressors are less likely to attack if a child is holding a phone or is presenting the possiblity of calling for help
- A child would be able to access the GPS feature on their phone if they were to get lost or needs to give their parents directions
- Parents can also enable a geofencing app on the phone which allows the parent to see if their child leaves or enters a predetermined area.
- Parent can also use the breadcrumb feature on their Family Tracking app to see which direction or pathway their child used to get home or to thier desired location.
2. Teaches Responsibility
- Cell phones help kids understand the cost of owning electronics and how to maintain them
- Allows kids to participate and comprehend pride of ownership
- It can start the conversation of where important items such as cell phones should be kept during the day and where they are placed at home or in the evening
- They can help teach them the routine of making sure the phone is plugged in each night and what happens when the routine is not consistent
- Cell phones can be used as a reward if the child is making good choices or can be limited if they are making poor choices
- Having a cell phone begins the narrative of “how much is too much screen time”
- It can also teach them the skill of saving and spending when talking about data limits and amounts of data used daily
- To get more information see Michigan State University’s article on how to use technology to help teach responsibility
- Parents and children can call each other pretty much at anytime
- The child can use their phone for research and homework when a computer is not available
- If soccer practice is running late or the parent is stuck in traffic having a way to communicate with each other is extremely convenient
- When a child is away for longer periods of time, being able to check in from time to time is always a plus
- Kids can set reminder alarms, make lists or use the phone’s calender help keep their activities on track
- Being able to look on your phone and know where your child is at any time makes things a lot easier (As long as they have their phone turned on and with them)
- In certain situations, the ability for your child to be able to entertain themselves with their phone is priceless
- There are many educational games and apps that your child can play during a long car ride or as a reward
- If you prefer to limit their screen time kids can always access music to listen to at anytime (approved music, of course)
- Your child can access many beneficial tools on their phones such as the calculator, camera and health trackers
4. Improved Communication
- Having a phone can improve opportunities to socialize with family and friends
- Kids no longer need to wait to use the home phone to call family and friends
- With new phone plans and communication apps, kids can call family and friends even when they live outside the country
- Being able to quickly put in new friend’s contact information in their phones helps encourage making new friends (Parents should always check their children’s contacts on a regular basis
- Allows kids to practice discussion etiquette and how to carry out a proper conversation
- Surprisingly enough, parents are finding that texting is a great resource for teaching reading and spelling
- Using their phone to stay up to date on hobbies and interests helps them have something to talk about with friends and family.
- Lets them practice calling businesses for information and directions
Only Parent Approved Apps
The list above is only relevant if parents understand that getting your child a phone can only be beneficial if the risks are minimized by keeping unnecessary apps off their phones.
Coming soon will be a list of beneficial apps that will help make your child’s phone even more helpful.
For now, check out below a list of apps that the Sarasota Sheriff Departments deems inappropriate and could be used to target children.
15 Apps Parents Should Know About
– Meetme: It’s a dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. The app’s users are encouraged to meet each other in person.
– Grindr: This dating app is geared toward gay, bi and transgender people. It gives users options to chat, share photos and meet up based on a smart phone’s GPS.
– Skout: It’s a location-based dating app. While users under 17 years old are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account with an older age.
– Whatsapp: This is a popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails, as well as make calls and video chats.
– Tiktok: It’s a new app popular with kids that’s used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable ot cyber bullying and explicit content.
– Badoo: This is a dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos based on location. The app is intended for adults only, but teens are known to create profiles.
– Bumble: It’s similar to the popular dating app, Tinder, however, it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.
– Snapchat: It’s one of the most popular apps of 2018. While the app promises users can send a photo or video and it will disappear, recent features allow users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
– Kik: This app allows anyone to contact and direct message your child, sometimes anonymously. Kids sometimes use Kik to bypass traditional text messaging features. Kik gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
– LiveMe: This live-streaming video app uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn coins within the app and use them as a way to pay minors for photos.
– Holla: The app’s makers admit it’s an “addicting” video chat app. It allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content, and more.
– Whisper: This is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.
– Ask.fm: This app has become known for cyberbullying. The app encourages users to allow people to anonymously ask them questions.
– Calculator%: This is one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files, and browser history.
– Hot or Not: This app encourages users to rate other users’ profiles, with the focus on physical appearance. It also allows users to check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The sheriff says the goal of this app is to “hook up.”
Why kids should have phones is an ongoing conversation and is not an easy decision to make.
There are so many pros and cons to letting your child have a phone.
Hopefully, this information will help you make a more informed decision.
Let us know if there are more reasons kids should have cell phones or if you believe to the contrary.
Please leave us a comment below!