Back to school is right around the corner. Families everywhere are the hunt for this years must-have back to school items. While for some its a new backpack or pencil case, others, like my DS11, its hopes of a cellphone.
A 2015 study by MediaSmarts, a Canadian not-for-profit focused on digital literacy, says over a quarter of students in Grade 4 own cellphones, and that skyrockets to 85 per cent by Grade 11. Some children as young as eight own phones.
This subject is a very touchy subject among parents in today’s society. The balance between the usefulness of technology in a child’s hand the health and social risks it imposes on our children’s health. The real question is what age is too young to have a phone and whether owning one will helps or harm your kids,
Consider this scenario:
My family consists of two working parents and three children between the ages 11 and 6. In order to minimize childcare, we work opposite shifts to ensure a parent is home for the children most of the time. Occasionally, we elicit the help from friends and family. This past summer, my oldest child had set up a play date with a friend in the beaches. Like passing ships, neither Mom and Dad were able to drop him off so a family friend offered. DS11 made the arrangements ,the family friend dropped him off and it turned out nobody home. My son had misunderstood his friend on what time he should arrive and ended up sitting on their front steps for 45 minutes alone. He was in an area of town he wasn’t familiar with, there was no telephones near by and he had no way to call for help. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending and his friend arrive home, but the alternative is terrifying.
Having a cellphone would have greatly benefited my son in this situation. He could have called one of his parents, followed up with his friend or the worst case scenario called for help. But is he ready for the other responsibilities that come with a cellphone?
As more and more children show up in class with a cellphone the pressure is on the parents to decided if this is viable option for their kids. For parents, smartphones are a way to keep in touch with your children while fostering independence where as for kids, mobile devices enable them to stay connected, access social media and participate in the digital age.
The decision to give your child a smartphone is a big one and there isn’t a perfect age at which to do so. Parents must consider their child’s maturity and ability to use a smartphone responsibly. TELUS WISE has developed a quiz to help parents decided if their children are ready for a cellphone. The quiz is aimed at assessing your child’s maturity level and if they truly understand and respect technology. Take the quiz HERE
Congratulations! Your Child’s ready for a Cellphone! Time to upgrade to a FAMILY PLAN!
Once you have decided a cellphone is right for your child and your family, its important to choose a family plan that fits your needs but is still easy to understand. TELUS has recently launched its digital rate plan builder. It is revolutionary program that moves you step by step through the research phase of setting up a family plan. You can customize the plan to suit your data, calling and phone preference needs. If you are looking to keep your family plan under a certain budget, you can play around with different variables to do so! It takes a lot of the guess work out of the cellphone plan equation, while letting you customize it to meet your families unique needs!
How old do you think a child should be to get a cellphone?