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8 Signs Your Child Is Ready for a Cell Phone with Parental Controls

February 28, 2012 at 4:12 PM

kids phoneIt may not happen until your child is 16, or it could happen as early as 6 – sooner or later, he is going to ask you for a cell phone. And when your child does, how are you going to answer? Your child's safety is a big deal, especially on a mobile phone, and you might want to consider parental monitoring or parental controls.

A cell phone, especially a smart phone, is a big responsibility. Here are 8 indicators that your child is ready to handle one. 

    1. He has shown responsibility with other big-ticket personal items, (anything from a retainer to a Nintendo DS) for example keeping track of the item and taking good care of it.

    2. He can provide some well thought-out reasons for needing or wanting one – other than “but Mom, all my friends have one!”

    3. He understands and is prepared to follow school rules about having and using a cell phone at school.

    4. You've discussed issues like cyberbullying, sending or forwarding sexts and, if your child is old enough to drive, texting while behind the wheel.

    5. He knows what to do if he is sent or encounters inappropriate material on his phone.

    6. He agrees to abide by your family's rules and limits on how and when he can use the phone, and agrees to the consequences for breaking them.

    7. He understands the methods you'll be using to monitor their cell phone usage.

    8. He or she has the capability to pay for part or all of the bill. Some parents would disagree with me on this, but kids are more likely to abuse a free gift from mom and dad than something they have personally earned.

Every child doesn't need a phone at the same age – it depends on the child's maturity level and the family situation. As with so many other things, it's up to you – the parent – to decide.

                                     
Steven Woda

Written by Steven Woda

Steve Woda is the co-founder and CEO of uKnow, and a leader in the Internet safety and security field for over 15 years. He frequently speaks on the topics of Internet and mobile security, ecommerce and information economics. You can follow Steve on Twitter or on his blog.

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