What’s the Ideal Age to Give My Teen a Smartphone?

What’s the Ideal Age to Give My Teen a Smartphone?

At last, a easy reply that tends to make best sense and is based on the most robust investigate

If you are hunting for affirmation that smartphones and social media are great for your children, this is not 1 of these posts.

The “best age” problem is a trick query. Here’s why. We really don’t worry about the “best age” for issues that are inherently good for our young children. Are there hundreds of opinions on the best and safest age to give your young ones a book, a Rubik’s Cube, or a baseball? What about a vacuum cleaner? Do we have to search for clinical advice from counselors when our teenagers are spending also much time doing the dishes, actively playing outside the house, or cleaning the garage? Is there these types of a detail as teenagers getting to be depressed since they are spending too a great deal time using bikes? No, since those actions aren’t harmful to your child’s mind and psychological development. The “best age for a smartphone” concern is flawed. Probably a superior question would be: Do teens even need smartphones?

Science Vs . Society

Our youngster, like a properly-prepared prosecutor, pleads her circumstance to us that she “will practically die without having a cell phone.” And we are dying to make her delighted. So we go versus our parental instincts that inform us that our youngsters are far too younger for smartphones. We then look for to confirm our biases by searching for blog posts loaded with like-minded strangers’ views. In purchase to make smartphones kid-friendly, modern society suggests all you have to do is the following:

  1.  Make the phone considerably less potent and perilous by acquiring levels of complicated parental controls.
  2.  Make your boy or girl more mature by obtaining ongoing conversations, signing a cellular phone-conduct deal or loved ones pledge, and permitting them exercise with social media.

Right after all, we are reminded, all youngsters reside on the web and smartphones are listed here to remain, so therefore they must be mandatory for teenagers. But these so-named safety measures are myths.

Although vital for a initially line of defense, the very first notion (parental controls) turns out to be a band-support and features a untrue sense of security. Teenagers very easily discover workarounds and it’s not possible to place parental controls on social media information. Right before you count on this answer, request any large college dad or mum if parental controls have at any time unsuccessful them (spoiler: the respond to is ordinarily certainly).

The 2nd plan is scientifically unachievable. Medically speaking, we can not power maturity or velocity it up by just acquiring conversations or signing contracts with our teens. Of class it’s significant to communicate normally with your teenager, nonetheless, conversations and contracts never change teenager behavior. If these approaches labored, we would reduce a host of teenager problems—alcohol, medication, pregnancy—overnight.

On top of that, training social media helps make matters worse. Compared with practising a activity or a music instrument, working towards an addictive activity this kind of as social media doesn’t put together adolescents to use it wisely or make them a lot more experienced. Information and science notify us that social media hurts our teen’s psychological and emotional well being in a very measurable way worry and anxiousness are skyrocketing. Teenager brains are not resilient like grownup brains and teens have decrease impulse manage than adults. Study also reveals that the much more publicity you have to an addictive activity—such as ingesting liquor or utilizing social media—the larger your chances are for problematic use.

What to Target on Before a Smartphone

Maturity: Teens are not mature, but they are really excellent actors! Just for the reason that we see symptoms of budding maturity in some places of our teen’s daily life doesn’t signify she is prepared for a smartphone. Disturbing articles just can’t be unseen. Your apprentice adult wants extra time to mature by means of high college and even university in advance of she develops the wisdom to take care of the distractions of social media and outside of. Really do not confuse intelligence with maturity.

Healthier Activities: Teenagers require a assortment of balanced hobbies and physical routines to thrive. It is crucial for a teen’s improvement to pursue meaningful hobbies, purposeful perform, entertainment routines, and superb communication techniques somewhat than paying out time nurturing a screen dependency. The cellular phone turns into a very low-effort/large-reward exercise that distracts and replaces a lot of critical milestones and routines. Childhood can’t be re-finished.

Attachment: Teens’ most important attachment to their family is additional important for the duration of this stage of progress than attachment to their digital friends. If you really feel like you are dropping your youngsters to their telephones, you are.

Friends: Teenagers require relationships with a handful of near, in-man or woman good friends for the sake of their psychological overall health. Social media will not meet your teen’s friendship wants. Your child’s friendships are weakened when they move online—making teenagers lonelier than they have ever been.

Acceptance: Teens will need a likelihood to grow up with out currently being damage and turned down online. Rejection is more damaging in the course of this vulnerable and impressionable phase than any other phase of everyday living. Adolescence is the worst time for social media.

Conversation Skills: Teens want to construct confront-to-deal with communication techniques by being in the presence of other individuals. Texting and submitting emojis are not experienced or sustainable interaction techniques.

Non-Addictive Pursuits: Mom and dad really should totally free their teenagers from addictive methods now so they can produce their total upcoming opportunity. They require caring grownups to get rid of monitor obstructions that get in the way of healthy childhood. Remember, 90 % of all adult addictions start out in childhood.

Defense: Teenagers require dad and mom to guard them even if it usually means getting an unpopular and countercultural stand. It isn’t staying overprotective to guard our kids in this place. Teens crave that kind of really like.

A Practical Selection

There is a far better possibility. Like a very good coach, you improve the video game system when you are in the middle of a getting rid of time. Exchange the smartphone with a non-facts (communicate/text) cell phone if a cell phone is wanted at all, and hold off social media indefinitely, definitely by means of late adolescence. Trade the smartphone conflicts for the subsequent:

  • An in-individual social lifetime: Assist your youngster make lasting friendships and enjoyable reminiscences by arranging a lot more social routines at your household, usually. Get to know their friends.
  • Non-tech hobbies: Guidebook your youngster to uncover new hobbies and spend extra time doing non-tech pursuits, these types of as looking through, sports, new music classes, art, work out, etcetera.
  • Time with you: In the long run, your teens crave your attention, acceptance, and like more than all the social media likes in the environment. Invest time getting to know your young children.

Our ScreenStrong Challenge is a good way to get started your journey. This 7- or 30-working day detox will support your children reset their behavior and get back on track. You will adore the crack and they will, way too!


I have in no way fulfilled a guardian who wished they experienced offered their teenager a smartphone earlier than they did. Most will say they desire they had waited, as it was 1 of the worst parenting issues they ever created. They have learned that the pitfalls aren’t truly worth the positive aspects for teens. And in simple fact, with the maximize in teenager despair and suicide, the threats are really serious.

There is no extended a want to guess. The data is in and the teenager smartphone experiment isn’t functioning. Your teen doesn’t have to have a smartphone or social media. And since it normally takes only a few minutes for a 4-year-previous to understand how to use a cellphone, you can be absolutely sure that your teen won’t get remaining guiding. You only have one shot to develop a healthful childhood and your teens need to have your assistance and your management. Your children are worth whatsoever it takes—even if that suggests heading towards the strong cultural pressure and delaying the smartphone.

Melanie Hempe, BSN, is the founder of ScreenStrong, an corporation that empowers mother and father to assist their children to attain the rewards of display media without the harmful implications of overuse that threaten nutritious psychological and bodily growth. The ScreenStrong Remedy encourages a sturdy parenting fashion that proactively replaces destructive display screen use with balanced routines, lifestyle competencies growth, and relatives relationship. This short article was at first posted on ScreenStrong.com.

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