Kids & Phones
Before long, you’re going to find yourself in a position of deciding whether or not to allow your kid to play with a smartphone. However, once you start noticing fingerprints and food stains on your favorite iPad, you may feel yourself making that decision sooner than you’d think. However, with the multi-range capabilities of a smartphone, will you allow your child to start operating one? With the hidden dangers of email, the internet, and photos, how do you know what the appropriate age for your child to start playing with a real phone?
Fortunately for you, the guide below will explain the right age for allowing your child to play with a phone, tablet, or laptop without repercussion.
Hold Out Until Preschool
Simply because your child enjoys looking at screens and pushing buttons doesn’t mean they’re ready to handle a computer in their hand. Top experts say to wait until your kid has surpassed preschool at the very least. Since children under the age of two years learn best from real-world experiences, every minute they spend behind a screen can limit their senses and stunt their learning development. However, once a child reaches the age of three, they can benefit from electronic-based media since most start their social media awareness, as long as it is mostly educational.
Parental Guidance is Crucial
Many experts suggest that parents involve themselves in their child’s interaction with electronic devices, such as phones when they’re young. This way, a parent can better balance their children’s exposure to such technology and can keep their child’s usage under control. Plus, many parents find is fun to bond with their child over a tablet as a shared experience.
However, when letting your child try out a smartphone or app, let them ask your questions and point out different views of the content. This is also called co-viewing. You may have done this before when watching TV with your child, but it can help your child’s comprehension skills. At the same time, ensure you are not spending too much time playing with electronics. You should still spend plenty of time outdoors in nature or read books with your child. After all, as a parent, you are a model for your child.
Limit Your Child’s Screen Time
You should limit your child to less than a half hour of screen viewing at a time to any four to five year old. In fact, even high schoolers should be limited to no more than two hours of screen time at a given time. However, these rules can be extended for school work or if they are using the device as a form of a productivity tool.
As your child grows, their screen time will increase, but it’s important that you remind them to spend plenty of time outdoors.
Content is Where it Matters
Whether you own a smartphone, tablet, or computer that you’re sharing with your child, the biggest thing that matters is the content they are viewing. This means that before you show your child an app or content on the internet, it’s important to first see what kind of message it’s portraying and if it is age appropriate. What your children play and watch matters the most when it comes to technology. It’s vital that parents learn to differentiate between entertainment-based and educational-based content. However, a further step you can do is look up the age range for each app your download on your child’s device before they start interacting with it.
If you are an Apple family, you can download apps on the iPhone and iPad that help teach content on metric conversion, money/fractions, geography, math, Shakespeare, the U.S. Constitution, and more. However, LeapFrog is a great educational resource for young children to play with. Basically, it’s a tablet that’s specially made for children that are nine years of age or younger that has its own education based apps.
Parents can additionally check out sites such as SmartAppsforKids.com or Common Sense Media to check out the best kid-friendly apps, or download apps from Zoodles.com.
Continuing Their Education
We may think smartphones and tablets can only be used for watching videos and playing games, but they are capable of so much more. In the right hands, they can be powerful teaching tools. Allowing your child to play with your device can provide them with more opportunities and help them to continue their education outside of the traditional means. It gives them access to real world issues and applications, which makes the information they are learning more relevant to their daily life.
Understanding what age your kids should before playing with a real phone is incredibly important. Not only does it shape how responsible they will be with technology, but also it prevents any damage to their learning skills as well. One of the worst things you can do as a parent is preventing your child from growing by handing over the latest piece of technology to a two-year-old. However, as rare as this happens, parents can give in nonetheless. Hopefully, with the help of our guide above, you can get a better understanding of when you should let your child interact with a phone or any other major piece of technology.