How to Counter Your Child’s Favorite Arguments For Getting Their First Kids Phone
Your kid’s made it abundantly clear: She’s ready for her first kids phone. But you’re not so sure: Between cyberbullying, online porn culture, and false information, phones can be incredibly dangerous.
If you’re not ready to get your first kids phone, you can resist. Don’t feel bad about it: Setting boundaries means you care.
How Kids Make Their Case for Their First Kids Phone
With that said, it’s not always easy to say “no” when your kid is begging you to give in. That’s why we’ve created this blog to help you counter your kid’s favorite arguments for getting their first kids phone.
Argument No. 1: “I Just Want to Talk to My Friends.”
Phones are convenient ways to stay in touch. But they’re making it harder for people to communicate in person. The more time children spend texting each other, the less comfortable face-to-face conversations can feel.
Your child is still growing. Even if he’s a teenager, constant connectivity can limit his ability to build and maintain relationships. He needs to be able to build rapport in person before relying on electronics to talk.
Argument No. 2: “All My Friends Have One.”
Why do kids want their first phone? Because all their friends have one! And while it’s never fun to feel like an outsider, that’s not a good enough reason to get your children a wireless phone.
Instead of saying, “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” treat them like an adult: Explain why you don’t think it’s a good idea for them to get a phone first now. Have an open conversation. Let them know what it would take for you to buy them one.
For example, do you want to wait until they’re older? Do they need to do better in school? Whatever it is you’re waiting for, tell your children so they know what to expect.
Argument No. 3: “How Else Will I Learn?”
Smartphones are a great way to gather information quickly. Unfortunately, that information isn’t always accurate. With smartphones, kids can find answers in no time. But that could lead to false facts and bad choices.
Instead of relying on the internet, they should rely on their parents, teachers, and people they trust. A kid’s first phone should be a tool on top of those foundational resources. Teach them how to find and analyze information themselves, instead of believing whatever’s on the screen in front of them.
Argument No. 4: “I’m Old Enough.”
A recent Niche survey found 77% of students got their first cell phone between the ages of 10 and 17-years-old. The majority, 47% of those students, got their first phone between 14 to 17-years-old. Just 2% got their first phone at an age younger than 10..
How old are your children? If they’re under the age of 10, it’s easy to dismiss this argument. If they’re between 14 to 17-years-old, it might be a little harder to say “no.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t.
If your kids aren’t doing well in school, giving them a wireless phone could create new distractions. Maybe they’re having emotional issues, and you don’t want to open the door to cyberbullying. Make clear that it’s about more than age.
Argument No. 5: “What if There’s an Emergency?”
Kids love using this argument because it plays to your fears as a parent. It’s true: Phones can provide peace of mind. But don’t let this argument be the trump card.
The better answer is to make sure your kid — especially if they’re not yet a teen — is always with an adult. Make sure you trust that adult and know how to get in touch with them quickly.
Once they’re able to drive by themselves, then it might be time to reconsider the “emergency” argument. Even then, there’s no reason that the wireless phone you choose needs to be a smartphone.
Argument No. 6: “Cyberbullies Don’t Bother Me.”
More than 25% of young people have been bullied repeatedly through their smartphones. The scars of bullying can cause lifelong confidence issues and trouble building relationships. In serious cases, it can even lead to suicide.
Getting your first kids phone doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get bullied or become an aggressor. But sadly, it’s a strong possibility.
If your kid is sure she can resist, walk through the ways smartphones can worsen bullying. For one, they can make it feel like nowhere is safe from the bully. They also let bullies hide their activities from others. Bullies can even send malware or phishing links that can compromise your kid’s data.
The bottom line is that there’s no “right” age for your child to have a cell phone. At the end of the day, you know your child better than anyone. And while they might feel ready for the responsibility, it’s your job to make sure they truly are.