Thanks for your question.
So the question is: What age
should I give my child a cell phone?
And should it be a smart phone or a flip phone?
And I believe your child is 10 years old.
Like many decisions like this,
it's more about when they're ready,
and is there a need for the phone.
Is you child developmentally ready to have a phone?
Are they going to be responsible with the phone?
Are they going to take care of it? Lose it? Break it?
Will they use it productively?
And then, do they need the phone?
So, you don't always have to have a need
to get something fun for your child,
but you can feel good about saying,
"No" if there is no need for it.
You know, it's okay to wait.
By need, I think, you know,
is the child on their own for a duration
during the day? Maybe not at home
where they might need the phone
to access you or where you want to access them.
Are they babysitting? Maybe doing
something outside of the home where
they'll need a phone for a ride.
Or, is there somebody that they can get
a ride from or use a phone from
so that they don't need it?
I think the need to indicate whether or not
you need a smartphone or a flip-phone,
and then also what you want your child
to be able to do with the phone.
Also, cost. So, can you afford the phone?
Can you afford the service?
You may consider having your child
chip-in for the phone, and taking part
in the responsibilities for the actual
phone or the service.
That can also instill some responsibility
about taking care of the phone.
Finally, if you do decide to move forward
with the phone, and I believe the
average age for children getting phones,
the last time I checked is 12 years old.
But that shouldn't mean that, you know,
you need a phone by 12, or that
10 is too young. Again, it's about
whether you're child is ready
and is there a need and use for the phone.
But, if you do decide to move forward
with the phone, or any kind of digital device,
you want to be a savvy consumer.
Make sure it's something appropriate for a child.
And you want to teach responsible digital citizenship.
You want to make sure that your child is
aware of appropriate and
inappropriate digital behavior.
A good rule of thumb is, anything that
you type or say, you want to make sure
that they would be comfortable with you
hearing it or reading it.
And I would monitor it very heavily
at least in the beginning, and if you see
inappropriate, or even just something
that's seems like it could be really
innocent, but slightly inappropriate
or misinterpreted, when in doubt
have a conversation about it,
because that's how your child will learn
good digital citizenship.
If you do see something inappropriate,
don't panic, but feel free to enforce your rules.
Don't be afraid to scale back.
It's okay if you didn't have enough
rules to start with.
You just want to make sure that you're
comfortable and that your child is safe,
because that's your most important job,
is to keep your child safe.
Good luck with the decision.
And, you know, have fun with it.