registered logo (2)
Download the app
registered logo (2)
up hm learn first img
Carrots&Cake
The #1 Screen Time Solution for busy parents.
tab cont 5 star

Is My Teen Ready For A Cell Phone?

website article thumbnails 1024x580 new (35)

parent child phone

Is my teen old enough for a phone? 

For parents, this is the million-dollar question!

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple. It really depends on the individual. 

With that in mind, here are some guidelines to help you determine if your teen is ready for a phone of their own. We've reviewed the research, spoken with parents, and tried various tactics in our own homes.

 
The Brain of a Teenager is Still Developing

phone brain decline

In kids and teens the area of the brain in charge of making decisions – the prefrontal cortex – is still developing. That’s why it can be a struggle for teens to manage the power of their own phones. Even as adults with fully formed brains, we have trouble cutting ourselves off from our phones.

Our brains' dopamine levels are stimulated by interactive screens, which results in us craving more screen time. For developing minds, this can be a real challenge.
Here’s our advice:

  • Wait to give your child a phone for as long as possible. 
parent scolding child playing phone too much

When and if your teen asks for a phone, don’t rush to make a decision. Evaluate the pros and cons, such as always being in touch with them versus the potential for them to be distracted in school. Both you and your child need to be ready for this step.

In order to prepare kids for real life, it’s important for children to engage with the actual world as often as they can:

  • Trust your instincts. 
  • If you or your child feels unprepared to handle the responsibility of owning a cell phone, those feelings are valid. 
  • Speak with other parents

parent scolding teenager cell phone
  • It is helpful to speak to other parents to learn about their personal experiences with kids and cell phones. In a one-on-one talk, other parents are more inclined to share what does and does not work and why.
  • Develop a self-evaluation for your family

    Ask questions like – What does being responsible mean? What does the term "emotionally mature" mean? 


Our children surprised us with a variety of excellent answers. And so will your kids!

  • Use a simple gadget first

    There is no magic age that determines when a youngster is ready for a cell phone, but research suggests 14 is a sensible minimum age for a simple feature smartphone. These phones have built-in safety features and are less stimulating.
  • Set ground rules

    Schedule a meeting for you, your spouse, and your teen to go over the ground rules of phone ownership once you've decided your teen is ready for their own device.

After buying your child a cell phone:

  • Review the self-assessment questions.

    The first time you give your teen access to a smartphone requires practice and instruction.

    The landscape is always changing. As kids and teens learn to use technology appropriately, we need to keep mentoring and advising them. 

What happens if I regret my decision to give my teen a phone?

You are not alone if you've given your teen a phone and it's not working out. 

You're a parent trying your best. You are exploring the uncharted ground and learning as you go.

An important parental mantra for all of us: "I reserve the right to be wiser today than I was yesterday."
As a family, make a plan so that your child understands what steps they need to fulfill before they are granted phone ownership permission.

Also Read: What Teens Want Parents To Know About Phone Use?

Carrots&Cake download button
Jack Newenham

Related Post

Halve your kids’ overall screen time in 7 days with Carrots&Cake
Now you can encourage your little ones to use good educational apps without the tantrums.
check mark
Increase educational app usage by 200%
To unblock their games, kids must complete educational apps
check mark
Cut overall screen time in half
Enhance your family's digital well-being by setting personalized screen time limits.
check mark
Enjoy your first 14 days absolutely free
Enjoy all the premium features of Carrots&Cake without spending a penny. No credit card required.
download app button landing page
section2 last
registered logo (2)
FAQ
Carrots&Cake Parental Control is a member of the kidSAFE Seal Program.
tiktok (1)
text-align-right