Thinking of getting your child a phone? Welcome to parenting in the millennial era. So much has changed as a phone is a basic transmitter of information and communication gadget. Long gone are the days when a phone was for the elite. With them being everywhere, affordable, and lots of children content transitioning online, maybe it is time you took keenness in making this decision.
Growing up, I never interacted with a phone, let alone own it. I think I came to own a phone (which was not android) in my late teens or early twenties. Point is, I was a late bloomer in phone ownership. Why did my folks not see the need of getting me a phone anyway? Well, first, they were unavailable, expensive, and being trusted with a phone when under eighteen was nearly as hard as being given a title deed then. Probably they had trust issues. Guess I shall never know. However, with the birth of my son came a different perspective that was shifting my way of thinking. From birth, we had already downloaded lullabies that we would use to calm him to bed, some with white noise and others with Mozart tunes. Then at a toddler stage, and already he was exposed to some online cartoons which would sing nursery rhymes, some which he loves to date. Now a preschooler, the boy can operate a phone by swiping through (even if he does not know how to read) and sometimes stays with my phone too much, I had to think whether I should make the purchase for his personal one. Imagine, buying a four year old a phone! Crazy? Maybe, Maybe not.
Assessing if your child is ready for a phone is based on a few factors and questions you should ask yourself.
Do They Understand The Concept Of A Phone?
Well, admittedly, giving my son a phone at birth would not be appropriate, as he would not necessarily understand it. As he grew into months, we introduced some slow cartoons, which needed to be still images as very fast moving colors would affect the eye. At a point, he may have seen it as a toy, constantly throwing it away, which led to numerous screen repairs. Getting to check if your child understands the phone concept is important. Ask yourself, does he know what the device is, that it needs to be charged? You can do a simple test by giving them a phone. If they swipe it, it means they have observed you do it and may have an idea of how to use it. You may not necessarily take them through an IT class, but aim to see if they know the purpose of the device.
What Hall He Use The Phone For?
Before you make the purchase, do you have an idea of what exactly you want your child to gain from adding a phone in their lives? You should be able to identify whether it shall be for entertainment, education, or both. By knowing this, it will help you specially design the content that you want your child to absorb. Being that phones have applications, a phone which you have chosen is for your child will therefore accommodate child friendly apps. This consideration is key since a lot of children content is online, and to expose your child today means that you also consider exposing them to the online and virtual world.
Is The Content Online Age Appropriate?
Age is a big factor here. For instance, I still cannot give my child a phone that has dating sites. Most of the applications actually require an email address or Google account to log in to. Shall you be checking what apps your child is interacting with and putting age restrictions? Even in the cartoon world, there are cartoons that are for toddler stages, while others are for tweens and teens. You have to ask yourself if you have the time to constantly monitor what your children are watching, and if your answer is no, they are better off without them.
How Well Shall You Put Restrictions From Spam And Predator Sites?
Let us be real, there may be amazing content online, but bad content for your kids in equal measure. So much is spammed, and curated to ruin our young children’s mind. This includes even some cartoon and animation content. As a dad, you have to be concerned enough and ask yourself whether the phone shall be a playground for your child to be corrupted, or to get into sites that are not child-friendly.
Will You Be Able To Limit Their Screen Time?
You do not want a case where your child is addicted to their phone. It is greatly possible, and you can notice it easily even with yourself. Your child may become withdrawn and only want to be into the virtual world, affecting his human interaction. If you notice your child unable to respond to you from being too glued to the screen, maybe it is time you asked yourself whether you are ready to set specific times for screen times in the first place. If you are unable to do this, your child could be too engrossed and be unable to perform his chores, homework or have a balanced child life that involves physical play and interaction.
Now you see, buying your child a phone is not as easy as getting to the shop and making the purchase. It is a decision that requires your commitment throughout the course of the ownership.