Ah, the special day has arrived. Your child just came to you pleading for their first phone, a request that was no doubt made calmly with statistical data of technology trends and its impact on the modern family or how phones can make both parents and kids feel better connected. Yeah, okay. That’s not how it happens.
Today's tech is amazing. It can help to make life easier—and a lot more fun. So it's no surprise that kids would want a phone all their own. But is your child ready for a smartphone? Asurion Experts came up with some questions to help you make this big decision.
What's the best age to get my kid their first phone?
According to Asurion data, the median age a child receives their first phone is now 11 years old. That may seem young, but parents overwhelmingly said that they want a way to stay connected to their child at any time, especially as they participate in after-school activities and sleepovers with friends.
But, that doesn't mean that's the perfect age—there is no magic number. Every situation is different, and every child is different. Here are a few things worth considering to help you decide if your child is ready for their first phone.
Is your child responsible enough for such a commitment?
Phones are more expensive than ever. A smartphone can now cost upwards of a thousand dollars at full retail price. Would your child be able to understand the value of their device? If so, it may encourage them to handle their phone responsibly and prevent mishaps like leaving it behind at the skate park or giving it an apple juice bath. Thankfully, because accidents can happen for both kids and adults alike, there's protection options for your phone.
Not sure if they're ready to carry around such a pricey piece of electronic equipment wherever they go? Think through these questions:
- Is your child good about following rules you’ve set in other areas, like television use, homework, and bedtime?
- Is your child well-organized or absent-minded?
- Are they careful enough with other electronic devices they have access to at home?
Will it make your life easier as parents?
Perhaps you’re the parent of a very busy child, with an after-school schedule filled with soccer games, piano lessons, club meetings and more play dates than you can count. A schedule like this requires a well-designed plan for all the drop-offs and pickups. Would a phone for your child make it easier to stay connected and adapt to last minute changes in plans?
How do you feel about tracking your child’s phone usage?
Tell your child up front if you’ll be doing that. For many kids, knowing that their phone is subject to inspection at any time can provide the excuse they need to stay out of trouble with the device. If you treat phone check-ins as a mutual opportunity to answer questions and share ideas about the best ways to use technology with your child, it may feel less like punishment and more like a teachable moment. Check out our list of 5 things you can do to help protect your kids online.
What about turning on location tracking?
There are lots of apps and services to help parents keep tabs on their child’s iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire device use, including the phone’s browser, messaging and social media apps. Check reviews and talk to other parents to find one that feels right for you. If you're looking for more info, read our guide on the best parental control apps.
Will you limit phone usage time?
Most parents will opt to set at least some limits. Even if you shy away from other parental control features, you may want to set a few basic guidelines in place to keep your child from spending all day (and night) staring at the screen.
A good rule to establish early on: the phone charges overnight in the kitchen. This eliminates the late-night texting or gaming temptation. Because sleep is important!
How will you keep your child from damaging the phone?
Since wrapping up the phone in bubble wrap would probably embarrass your kid, get a good case for it. One that will protect it from day-to-day bumps and bruises, like those made by Spigen or Otterbox.
Also consider a case that is waterproof, since phones and liquid just don't mix. Bathtubs, swimming pools, and that yummy glass of milk they drink every morning all pose a threat, so it's best to set a guideline to keep their phone away from all liquids. We know that's easier said than done, of course—read our tips on how to save your phone from water damage so you'll know what to do, just in case.
In our recent survey, parents report nearly 56% of broken devices in their household are attributed to kid mayhem, so it's best to prepare for the unexpected. For more than 25 years, Asurion has helped 300 million customers protect, connect, and enjoy the tech they and their families love most. And smartphones are no exception. Learn more about Asurion phone insurance plans today.
*Asurion-sponsored survey by Market Research Firm Dynata conducted March 2-9, 2022, of 1,965 U.S. adults (18+) representative of the U.S. population.