As children become older, and enter milestones such as secondary school, they gain more independence and responsibility. It is often around this age they will ask their parents for a phone, to chat with friends and make their own plans. This is the natural age kids begin to spend more time out of the house, and it is a great time to give them their first phone. As parents, this will allow you to stay in contact and make sure they are safe without impeding upon their social development with their peers.
It also gives them a sense of responsibility and duty of care that they might not have been trusted with yet, and helps them mature to a degree appropriate for their age. Having a conversation with your child before you give them their new phone about how you expect them to behave and use their device is a good way to show them this is not a frivolous purchase. Buying them a phone also keeps the line of communication open between you and your child as they become older and don’t require supervision or are reliant on you for travel.
What to Consider
As you are most likely going to pay for both the phone and the bills for the next few years, it is important to decide now what kind of payment plan you wish to use. Pay-as-you-go is a system where you input a certain amount of money and wait until it is used up before topping it up again. A monthly contract is a regular payment each month which provides a set allowance for the number of texts, minutes of call time and GB of internet access.
Many parents opt for pay-as-you-go because they can dictate how much money they are willing to spend each month and it is a more flexible way to pay. However, children often use up the charges quickly and it can become frustrating to parents (and not very economical) if they are being constantly asked to top up the balance. Contracts can be found cheap, and there are a vast array of plans to choose from, some offering unlimited texts and calls – but shop around for the best type of payment plan for you.
Why Smart Instead of Simple?
Simple phones are a good choice for battery length and durability, but they simply don’t have the functionality or features of their smartphone competitors. There are a good range of different models to consider, but for the age bracket described here, we recommend models like the TLC smartphone, as they have a broad range of functions and are durable enough to handle the boisterous nature of youth. The benefits of a smartphone include features like internet access to research homework, the ability to take pictures, make video calls, form family group chats, and it also allows them to keep in touch with friends through social media networks.
Simple phones are great for younger kids, but if your child is moving into secondary school and gaining independence, a smartphone is the right decision – and not because they’re ‘trendy’ (although they are!).