Delay Your Child’s Access to a Smart Phone. Please!

I think I have covered everything we require of our 12 year old’s.

  • We change their expectations that we pay for everything in their lives and when they turn twelve they get to start paying for their school clothes and entertainment.
  • Our 12-year-olds start doing their own laundry.
  • Our 12-year-olds start making their own appointments and contacting people for the activities in their lives.

Now onto the 14-year-olds:

We wait until our children are 14 to get a cell phone. By that time they can earn the money to afford one. They need to pay for their own phone. They are highly motivated and so they will earn it quickly. It’s a wonderful way to show them how powerful their intentions are and what they are able to do when they focus and put their mind on accomplishing something. I can’t stress enough how powerful this made my children feel. We call it, “creating your best life”, from a book by Carol Tuttle. That is, you work really hard and pray often, for you to prosper in every area of your life. It is a way for them to see tender mercies in their lives when events and things show up for them. It’s the music of the gospel!

I can still limit their usage, and use it as leverage, which means they lose their phone if they aren’t checking it in at night or using it properly. Even though the phone is “theirs”, we still partnership on the appropriate use of it.

Your child is  old enough to take care of the phone bill and pay for it.

 We do not include our children on a family plan.

I know it sounds heartless. It costs more for them, which is hard on me, but it is a tool that teaches them to pay a bill. Once again the hardship helps develop self-sufficiency skills. In the past we have had the family plan and I had to gather up every one’s money every month. I am done hounding kids for their part of the bill. Now, on their own plan, if their phone is turned off it’s a natural consequence. It has saved a huge headache for me. At one time, two of my daughters banded together on a family plan in order to save money. I warned them it might not end well, despite their best intentions. The younger one became the policeman I had been. They finally parted ways, and managed their own bills.

I have posted before about the time to give children cell phones. I still stick to  age 14. Because people rarely have landlines anymore they are worried that their children won’t be able to communicate with their friends. We got Ooma installed for around 4.00 a month so that we had a landline until our children turned 14. It seems like a drastic choice to wait that long. For me it is one of the fortifications you can use to protect your child’s emotional  and spiritual well-being. I posted  a few months earlier about  an article in the Deseret News about a mother that started a movement, “Wait until 8th”  trying to encourage  parents  to wait to get their child a cell phone until they are in the 8th grade.

I  like her idea of finding 10 families that will sign the pledge together creating a little community of solidarity. Banding together with other families will help your children not feel so out of the normal groove.

The below article is good news because they are updating the old flip phones that do basic testing and calls. I personally feel that smartphones can be a dangerous tool for teenagers, where pictures can be sent, bullying can happen, and inappropriate images can be seen. Think about using one of these updated phones that just do the basics.

“We’re not trying to make a smartphone,” he says of his company’s latest device, a $400 monolithic slab that Mr. Tang hopes offers all the essentials—calls, texts, alarms, navigation—and nothing else. “We’re also not trying to make an entertaining device, or an attention-sucking machine,” he says. “It’s like a screwdriver,” he adds. “You use it, you move on, you live your life.”

In my previous post,

about cell phones and your children, one mother got watches that could make calls to a few people which she felt good about that kind of access to her children.

“Ms. Ahn and her husband listen to music and podcasts on their smartphones, but they worry the devices might hobble their daughters’ development or create unnecessary social pressures. Instead, Ms. Ahn got the girls LG GizmoGadget watches, which allow calls with a few family members.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 7.18.04 AM (scroll down to the 4th article by Betsy Morris is you want to read the Wall Street Journal Article.

There are many ways for your children to communicate and still be protected from the distractions and dangers of an smart phone. Think about waiting until your child is older and not doing what everyone else is doing. How do you protect your children from inappropriate smart phone use? What are some tips you can give the rest of us?

2 thoughts on “Delay Your Child’s Access to a Smart Phone. Please!

  1. Cell phones at 14, yes.
    No smart phone until 18, definitely. The distraction of social media is something that future generations will look back on and say, “Are you kidding me? Parents let their kids be tortured by that?”
    Kind of like we look back at smoking in the 50s.


  2. Pingback: “A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley” – "Peace Like A River…"

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