This is a collaborative post
The world is a different place than what it was when I was younger. To have a mobile phone meant that your parents had a good amount of money. They didn’t have colour screens to start with and once your credit was gone that was it. Nowadays it seems like children are having phone younger and younger not just any phone but the latest models.
I see children I would guess at saying 14 years of age that have a better phones than me. They are glued to their phones whilst out at family meals and only put it down to eat. Which I personally think is such a shame to see. It does make you wonder if it’s our fault ( parents) that our children are like this. I am guilty of giving Ava my phone in a restaurant when the wait has been too long. So she can watch YouTube instead of getting rowdy. Are we teaching children these unhealthy habits from a young age? That by the looks of it gets worse as they get older.
I had my first phone when I was in year 6 . Mainly because I had to walk home alone from school and it was only really used in emergencies. I didn’t really text anyone on it. It just stayed in my bag. Then as I made my way through high school the pressure to have the newest phone was immense and something which really caused me so much stress.
Many of the popular apps that are used everyday actually have age restrictions on do you know what they are? I know I didn’t here are some of them.
- YouTube – Age 13+
- TikTok- Age 13+
- Instagram- Age 13+
- Twitter- Age 13+
- Kik- Age 13+
- WhatsApp- Age 16+
- Snapchat- Age 13+
- Facebook- Age 13+
I was actually pretty shocked to see that the age restriction on many of these apps was 13 years. When I think about what goes on Instagram and Facebook with trolling it worries me a little. Are children at the age of 13 wise enough to deal with it. Many of these platforms are know to be places where children are groomed. These apps are easily downloaded with a tap of a button. So I think you need to take into consideration if your child is mentally mature enough to use these app even if they are at the correct age.
I think we as parents need to talk more to our children about how to be safe on the internet and what is acceptable behaviour on the internet. To safeguard them as lets face it as soon as they get a phone they are going to want to download these sorts of apps. So This may be a factor in when you think your child is old enough to have a phone.
I think we need to ensure that we teach children skills away from having a phone that can keep them safe. Start simple like dont speak to strangers. I remember now my mom saying to me when I walked home from school I had to take the route they had planned for me and I wasn’t too stray from it . If something did happen I was to take an emergency planned route. So if I wasn’t home by a certain time they would know where to look.
So what age do you think is the right ? Or do you think there is no right age it just depends on the child ?
If you are wanting to find out more information on all things online saftey then I recommend heading over to the National online saftey Facebook page.