Smartphone and children, at what age?
Smartphones are the star gift for children today, everyone wants one and all parents wonder if they should buy it from their children. On the one hand, they can be a tool for leisure and learning, however, they also involve a series of dangers. Therefore, it is necessary to know what age is appropriate for children to have their first Smartphone.
Smartphone at 10 years old, the age of onset
The age at which children have their first Smartphone has advanced significantly in recent years, to be able to establish that age of onset in 10 years. Thus, the latest data collected indicate in this regard that 3 out of 10 children Ten-year-old Spaniards already have a mobile phone in their hands.
This figure, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), which assesses the use of new technologies by children under 10 to 15 years, increases even more when children reach 12 years. At this age, practically 70 percent of children, digital natives, they have this tool. Likewise, at 14 we can see again how the number of children who have a Smartphone grows (83%).
Smartphone at 12 years old, the most common age
The passage from Primary to Secondary, at age twelve, implies a new demand for mobile phones by children, already at the beginning of adolescence. At that moment, not having a mobile phone can translate into a cause of social rejection. The way these preadolescents have to communicate is based on the Smartphone: WhatsApp is the most used instant messaging service at these ages. Therefore, not having a mobile means being unable to be part of the WhatsApp groups or different social networks, and not being connected to the rest of your peer group.
The risks of having a Smartphone for children
However, although at age twelve any child sees a social need to have a mobile phone, on the other hand, the risks involved in having it cause parents to consider if the time is right. Many times, at this age they do not yet know how to make responsible use of the mobile, usually falling into the usual problems:
- Insufficient rest. Children, when they have a Smartphone, do not know how to set limits and some use it even at night, taking hours off.
- Breach of obligations. A mobile is also a great distraction. Being doing homework with the next device is often translated into a careless study and any other daily activity.
- Neglect of privacy. An irresponsible use of the telephone: posting compromised images on social networks or contacting strangers can lead minors to neglect their privacy.
- Poor communication in the family. The mobile can be an effective form of communication, however, sometimes it can have the opposite effect. Those children who use the Smartphone continuously, without restrictions during meals or family time, will contribute to making communication at home more and more deficient.
Smartphone at 14-15 years, the recommended age
All these reasons are what have led the experts to delay the use of the mobile everything you can, setting an ideal age to which, they believe, children are already prepared to make responsible use of a Smartphone, as long as the parents show it to them.
That age appropriate for children to have their first mobile is from 14-15 years old. Experts say that, from this age, children are able to use it more wisely and with greater maturity. In general: they have adapted to the institute, have a more defined group of friends and an established environment.
4 rules that parents should teach their children about smartphones
1. Turn it off at night. It is necessary that they learn that when the time comes to go to bed the mobile phone must be turned off. At night, it is important that the children rest and leave the messages or anything else pending for the next day. Being waiting for the phone to ring can generate anxiety, so it is best to disconnect completely.
2. Teach by example. Likewise, when parents arrive home they must leave the phone in the background. They are no longer at work, now is a time to share as a family. Giving a good example will be crucial for children to learn when and how to use the mobile.
3. Take care of privacy. It is important that, once the children have a mobile phone, they know the most appropriate ways to protect their privacy. Sharing photos, contacts or locations will put your private information at risk, so it is important that you learn to use the Smartphone responsibly.
4. Mobile only on the weekend. The best time for children, at least at the beginning, to use the Smartphone is on weekends. Thus, it will not be an element of distraction when it comes to studying, or at the time of sleep and, equally, it will not be an impediment to parent-child communication.
Patricia Núñez de Arenas