When Should You Get Your Child a Cell Phone?
It seems that kids are asking for a cell phone at a younger and younger age these days. This can make for some tough decisions as a parent. Just when is the best time to get a cell phone for your child? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Given the amount of times that kids see cell phones every day, it is hardly surprising that many children even as young as seven or eight are asking for (and sometimes getting) their own cell phones. Service providers are making this a temptation for families too, with offers that include handsets for all the family. You should ask yourself just how important it is for your child to have their own phone. The simple answer is that it depends.
A cell phone is obviously reassuring for both children and parents in certain circumstances. If your kids need to call to get picked up from practice or let you know that they have arrived safely, this is the perfect use for a phone. Of course, nobody likes the image of teenagers wandering around with their eyes fixed on the screen all day, and the idea of this starting any sooner than necessary doesn't really appeal. This is why it is a good plan to look at a strictly limited option on a kid's cell phone. Unlimited calls or internet access just aren't necessary and are actually a bad idea for youngsters.
In this way, the decision to get a cell phone for your child can be part of their education. Learning to use it responsibly is a valuable lesson and it is worth taking the time to get it right. The same is true about the environmental impact of cell phones. Too many of us (and not just youngsters) throw away old cell phones without a thought. This certainly isn't a green way of doing things. Explain to your child that it is important to dispose of it properly. Two obvious options are giving the old phone to charity so that it can be used by someone else, or making sure that it is recycled so that the different parts like batteries don't pollute.
There is no simple answer to what age is the right age to give a cell phone. For some, circumstance might make this much earlier than for others. Whatever the age, taking the time to explain the responsibility of owning and using a phone is important. Recycling an old phone goes hand in hand with this too and will take an important step towards teaching the next generation to be green.
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