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.
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:
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:
Our children surprised us with a variety of excellent answers. And so will your kids!
After buying your child a cell 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 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.
With Carrots&Cake you can help your children build positive screen time habits, minus the tantrums. Click here to learn more!