Parents Say This is the Best Age to Get Kids a Smart Phone
This may be the great debate at your house. The kids are begging for a phone so they can enter the world of Snapchat for themselves, and you're holding off as long as you possibly can. What's the ideal age to let kids/teens have a smart phone, and how does East Texas compare?
The Harris Poll says the best age to cave in and let the kids have their first phone is 12-14. Surprised? Me too! Good luck holding off that long. It seems like most parents around East Texas that I encounter get the kids a phone between 9 and 11.
My 6-year old keeps begging for a phone. She recently met a 10-year old girl who had just gotten her first phone, and that sneaky and yet well-meaning little thing immediately started showing my daughter how to play with Snapchat filters and make her face scrunch up, balloon out, and accept fake eyes and mustaches. If that's all the further it goes, great! Let's get the kids some phones. But there may be more to the phone than that.
If you ask kids when they should get a phone, they'll say, "right now." If you ask parents the same thing, they might say, "the later the better." At some point there's a meeting in the middle, and parents realize phones are a great way to keep track of kids on the go, they're a good safety valve, and they can become a valuable research tool for school and for teaching parents how to use apps.
That elusive "right time" may be different for everyone. What's the appropriate first phone age at your house?
Please don't say six.