By Dr. Joseph Kahn, MercyKids president
My oldest grandchild, a soon-to-be 11-year-old, asked for an iPhone for Christmas. (I was planning on a bike!)
I’m sure many tweens have asked for phones or likely will in the months or year ahead. On one hand, this seems like a frightening idea. On the other, you want your tween to gain independence and to be able to keep in touch and be reached.
Cost is a concern, of course, both for the phone itself and for a call, text or data plan. Also, does your child have the judgment and maturity to text only appropriate messages, to recognize and avoid dangers of cyberbullying and to use social media wisely? Moreover, will he lose the darn thing?
When weighing this decision, here are a couple of things to consider:
Some experts advise starting with a not-so-smart phone, like a flip phone that allows calls but no internet access. Whatever you decide is right for your child, plan ahead with rules and what happens when those rules are broken. Doing so will save many headaches down the line.