Kids and Technology: When to Give Your Child a Cell Phone

At what age should I give my kids cell phones? How can I make sure they aren’t connected all day? If they don’t connect, will they be isolated from social life? Thousands of questions come to mind when we think about childhood and the use of technology. What we as mothers and fathers want most is to help them develop their autonomy, but that first requires teaching them to communicate safely in the digital environment..

The Internet opens us up to a world of endless possibilities, but it also brings with it dangers Sharing, vamping, cyberbullying, sexting, grooming, phubbing, FOMO, gaming disorder And this fake news. Getting a digital device for the first time is an exciting milestone in every child’s life, but first they need to decide if they have the freedom to own a cell phone and learn to be responsible and take care of themselves online. We share some resources and prompts to talk about the topic.

Although the social and economic contexts of each place on the planet have very different characteristics, we see that the inclusion of devices poses universal problems.”, explained Marcela Czarny, director of Chicos.net. The non-profit civil organization seeks to promote safe, responsible and meaningful use of the Internet and digital media.

First step, before buying a cell phone, ask yourself: Is it the right time? A three-year-old and a twelve-year-old do not have the same level of maturity, responsibility, and understanding of online safety. So it is important to see where your son or daughter is. Assess whether you know how to manage your personal information and whether you behave with kindness and respect online.

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“It’s important not to rush to give them a cell phone. Then, when they already have it, it’s basic to talk to them about how they use it; like we ask them how it went at club or school, what application they downloaded or what We need to do so about how people use social media,” says Sebastian Portnick, editor. Guiding parents in the digital world (21st Century Teachers). As with all things parenting, it’s important to bond with our children, listen to them, and talk to them.

Another thing to take into account is what kind of device we give them. If cell phone use is to track travel to and from school, perhaps a device is not necessary. Skilled, but it could be a simple flip phone for making calls and sending messages (yes, like the old ones). On the other hand, if you opt for a smartphone – which allows you to call, send text messages and track the child’s location – it can give you peace of mind, but if misused, it can be dangerous. .
Another option? A smartphone that is not new and not connected to a mobile network.

The timing and manner of introducing the first phone or tablet into a child’s life truly affects their health and well-being for the rest of their lives. It’s important for parents and grandparents to talk to their children about how they interact with the online worldNicholas Carlisle, CEO of Power of Zero, says he partnered with Chicos.net to launch the “My First Device” campaign through an animated series — which can be seen on YouTube Kids — Seeks to educate girls and boys Skills needed to use digital media critically and creatively.

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Also, it is necessary to explain in which contexts the cell phone can be used: yes or no at school, yes at home at a certain time, yes after homework. To assess what children are viewing and accessing through their cellphones, they recommend exploring devices and apps with parental controls to monitor and manage content. Attention! Some devices already have built-in parental controls that are configured from Settings.

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