Is a cell phone at the top of your child’s Christmas list? Are they ready for the responsibility?
AT&T has developed a quiz to help you answer that question.
Cell Phone Use Among 12-Year Olds
71 percent of 12-year-olds have a cell phone, according to Common Sense Media.
With the many features and capabilities that come with having a device like this, it’s understandable why tweens want to own one.
Whether it’s for keeping in touch with friends or family members, staying informed on current events, or just playing games — there are numerous reasons why kids desire access to their own cell phones.
However, it’s important to recognize the pros and cons of owning a cell phone at this age.
While there are certainly advantages that come with being able to connect with others digitally, constant use of devices can lead to certain problems, such as cyberbullying and online predators. It’s up to parents to make sure their children maintain healthy habits when using these types of devices.
Screen Time for Tweens and Teens
It’s no secret that kids today spend a significant amount of time looking at screens, as Common Sense Media found that tweens average five and a half hours per day while teens average 8:39 hours on digital content.
While there are certainly benefits to using technology, like staying up-to-date on current events or having access to endless educational resources, too much screen time can have severe effects on mental health and physical activity levels.
To ensure their children are leading healthy lives both mentally and physically, parents should consider setting limits and restrictions when it comes to device usage.
There are plenty of parental control tools available nowadays to help monitor how long your child is spending on their device, what websites they’re visiting, and the types of content they consume.
Social Media Use by Kids Under 13 Years Old
It’s estimated that 38 percent of 8 to 12-year-olds are using social media platforms despite not being authorized to do so.
This is a concerning issue as it can lead to problems such as cyberbullying, online predators, and potential identity theft.
To make sure your children are safe when browsing the web, parents should take advantage of selective parental control tools which allow them to monitor their child’s activity while preventing access to certain websites or apps if needed.
Taking the Quiz
Figuring out when to give your child their first cell phone can be tricky.
It’s not just about age; this decision is about your child’s developmental maturity, and what values are important to your family. It’s essential to help your child develop a positive relationship with their phone from the beginning by teaching them responsible phone habits.
These 10 questions – developed by pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics and AT&T – can help you find out if you and your child are PhoneReady.
1. In your family, who is starting conversations about getting your child a phone?
2. How often do you feel your child needs a cell phone for their safety? For example, do they travel on their own to school, for after-school activities, or to visit family and friends?
3. How often would having a phone help your child connect with family or friends that they can’t see in person?
4. How often does your child act responsibly, such as finishing things they are assigned at school?
5. How often does your child follow rules about other media in the home such as limits on TV, tablets, or video games?
6. How often does your child successfully keep track of things like their backpack, hats or gloves?
7. How often do you trust your child’s judgment when they make decisions when you’re not there?
8. How often is your child able to handle impulses (for example, can they resist talking during class, avoid interrupting others, or handle disappointment without overreacting)?
9. How often does your child admit to you when they make a mistake and then work to make things better?
10. Are you prepared to take steps such as setting parental controls, creating a family media plan, and talking with your child about what they see and do online
Getting Your Score
Head over to AT&T’s website to answer the questions and get their opinion if your child is ready for a cell phone or not.
You can also find more valuable resources and tips for responsible phone use.
Having a cell phone can be a great way to stay connected and safe, but it’s important to make sure your child is ready for the responsibility that comes with it.
Take the quiz and do some extra research to make sure you’re making the best decision for your family.
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