When should your child be given their first mobile?

Chances are if your child is of school age they’ve asked when they are allowed to have a mobile phone. And as a parent you’ve searched for a hard and fast rule when it comes to answering that question.

Unfortunately there are no clear cut answers and it largely depends on the child:

Here are some questions to consider in the decision making process if you’re considering getting your child a mobile phone.

  • Does your child show good communication skills such as letting you know when they leave the house or explaining what they did during the day at school?
  • Is your child upfront with things that happen at school or do you often find out from other sources?
  • Do your kids tend to lose things, such as school jumpers or drink bottles? (If the answer is yes, then the phone might get the same treatment!)
  • Is your child technologically savvy? What about their sense of responsibility? If there is a gap between the two, it might be time to say no, not yet.
  • Do your kids need to be in touch for safety reasons like walking home from school or making their way to afternoon sport by themselves?
  • Do you think they’ll use the mobile phones responsibly –for example, not hiding it from teachers and following school policy that might include handing it in at the office at the beginning of the day?
  • Can they adhere to limits you set for minutes talked and apps downloaded? (although there are solutions to this if the answer is no!)
  • Are you separated from your child for long periods of time and need the peace of mind to be able to directly contact them?
  • Is the demands for a mobile just coming from peer pressure that “everyone” else has one? (don’t succumb to this one! remember, each child is an individual)

At the end of the day, when to give a child a mobile phone can be a real dilemma for parents –  kids develop at different rates and their skills and maturity levels vary, meaning that some kids might be ready for the responsibility, whilst others, it’s probably best to wait. It also really depends on the use and amount of freedom they are given with their mobiles and having open communication about responsible usage.

Kids can be eager to get on social media too, but just remember each social media site has minimum age requirements for this, so be guided by those ages too.

Cyberbullying also remains a big concern for parents, but if  you’re worried about this, there a range of resources available to help prepare and prevent the issues getting out of hand. Cyberbullying is definitely one of the dangers of children using the internet, but what about the benefits? (Yes! It’s not ALL bad news!) Most research focuses on moral panic, but there are also some studies that show  moderate social media use is actually beneficial as it can be helpful in feeling socially connected and part of a community.

If you’ve answered most of these questions in a positive manner and decided it’s time for your child to get a mobile phone, then you can definitely set limits around data usage and it doesn’t have to set you back financially either.

The Yomojo Kids Plan features 200 min worth of standard national calls, unlimited standard national SMS/MMS and 1GB data (the plan is prepaid meaning they won’t be able to exceed data usage) Priced at only $9.90/30 days, this is a practical yet secure way to manage mobile phone costs and  teach responsible internet habits for your kids.

You can see the plan here.

Another cost effective way to keep your mobile cost down is to create a Yomojo Family Bundle HERE (hint: add all of your family mobile plans to one account and save up to 15% on your total bill, all year round)

You can see all our plans at www.yomojo.com.au/mobile-plans or call  1300 966 656 to speak with our friendly customer service team.