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When Should I Get My Kid a Smartphone?

Posted by Michelle Osborn on

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Guest post, Axis Vol. 4, Issue 37 | September 14, 2018


It’s a good question, one that almost every parent in the modern world will ask. What’s the right age for getting my child a smartphone?

But actually, it’s the wrong question to be asking.

It’s the wrong question because the issue is much deeper than a binary, either/or situation in which your kid either has a phone or doesn’t have one. Why? Because it matters less when you buy your kid a phone and more how you allow them to use it. Asking “when” creates a false dichotomy that results in your kid going from not having a phone to having 100% access to one in a matter of moments.

It’s a false dichotomy because your kid will always have access to a phone (even if they don’t have a phone) because of their friends. Sure, they won’t have the same authority to customize it to their liking, but they will still have significant access.

It’s also false because getting a phone shouldn’t necessarily mean they own it or have complete control over it. Possibly one of the biggest regrets we hear from parents is that they gave their child a phone in its original box without setting any parameters or boundaries around it.

Your kids need a path to follow where they get a phone with limited access and then their responsibility increases until they are independent.

The Art of Parenting: Aiming Your Child’s Heart toward God, a new book by Family Life Today’s Dennis and Barbara Rainey contains a chapter that gives you a better framework from which to view smartphones and some important conversations to have with your kids. We highly recommend the entire book!


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