When is it time to give your child a mobile phone?

In 2016, parenting has never been so different, from exposure to issues to technology, we’ve never seen anything like it and raising kids in an unfamiliar environment can be daunting. One issue that is sure to crop up is the issue of mobile phones and more specifically when is the right time to give your child a mobile phone?

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In our modern world it is almost a fact of life that everyone needs a mobile phone, they are vital for staying in contact and when it comes to children they are a God send when they reach an age where they may go to the park with friends or even walking to school by themselves. Yet they are not without their problems, anyone who has read a magazine in the last year will be aware of the horror stories of children being abused through technology. Vicious texts from bullies, taunting on Facebook and even sexual predators. There is also the very real issue of unrestricted internet access, what if your child stumbles across material you wouldn’t be happy for them to see at a certain age?

According to new research Nationwide’s Flex Plus Current Account, that looked in to mobile phone usage by children, one in twenty children will have a mobile phone by the age of six. That number rises to over fifty per cent by the age of 11. Parents were found to be spending £120 on their child’s first handset and 55 per cent want the flexibility to stay in touch and more than a third cite safety fears as a reason for getting a handset for their children.

11 years old is around the age kids take off to senior school so it is understandable that 11 is the age the majority of children receive their first phone, but is this too early or too late? According to the study one in 10 children will use their mobile during the school day, and 12 per cent will log in to their phone as soon as they get home from school. A fifth of parents are concerned their child’s phone has now led to them not enjoying enough quality time with the family, and 16 per cent are concerned their child is missing out on face-to-face interactions with others.

It’s also important that we don’t hold our children back. Nowadays kids who grew up with technology are getting in to good jobs quicker and making older employees obsolete because they can do the work quicker and faster thanks to technology. Shielding your child from technology could do more harm than good which means it’s about introducing it in the right way.

Ultimately what it will come down to is the individual child and the circumstances the family find themselves in. If your instinct is your child is ready, then they probably are. Similarly, If your child is set to find themselves in situations where you as a parent may not be around every second then it may be essential.

Let us know what you think, how old will your child have to be to own their own mobile?

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