Tips for getting kids their first cellphone
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As more and more children in the United States begin to interact with and own their own smartphones, deciding when and how to safely give a child the device can be tricky among households. According to Dan Ackerman, editorial director of the technology publication CNET, families have cost-effective options and safeguard features for kids to help.
“The nice thing is there’s a ton of granularity in how you can control your kid’s phone,” Ackerman told “CBS Mornings” on Thursday. “Frankly, your own phone too.”
He says parents can control the screen time of a child’s smartphone as well as what apps they can and cannot download by navigating to the device’s settings page.
“You can get as tight or as loose as you want to be,” Ackerman said. “It depends on what level of trust you’re building up over time. Maybe that changes from one month to the next or from one year to the next.”
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly one in five parents of a child younger than 12 years old said their child owns their own smartphone. And more than half of parents whose young child own one said they got the device between the ages of nine and 11.
Ackerman says the 10 to 11 age range when children are approximately around fifth or sixth grade, tends to be a common time for children to receive their first cell phones due to safety aspects that the devices can provide.
“That’s the age where maybe they’re going to walk to school by themselves or self-dismiss a couple of days and then by using the “find my phone” or the Android version of phone tracking, you can see where they are and if there’s an emergency or problem they can get in touch with you, you can get in touch with them.”
He says families should consider getting children a used or hand-me-down phone to start building trust.
“There are choices that are $200 to $400, not $1,000 or $1,200,” Ackerman said.