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submitted 1 month ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
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[-] [email protected] 99 points 1 month ago

Before I wanted them to have a phone, I got a second d phone. It was my phone, not my kids phone. I would let my child take it when they went for a ride, or stayed over with a friend, or whatever. But it was my phone. If I had to take it off them, I wasn’t taking their phone, I was taking my phone. The difference is important. It also gave them a chance to learn appropriate use, and normalised me being in control of it. By age 10-11 the phone was basically theirs, in their hands, but the control is still mine. So my advice is don’t give the phone to your child, especially it as a present. It’s more difficult to take something of theirs away, but if they borrow something of yours, it’s much easier.

[-] Eyedust 30 points 1 month ago

This is the way to go. I don't have kids, but it's how my sisters went about it. For the longest time if my nephew wanted to call and talk to me, the number would ring up as my sister's number, because not only was it a spare phone, but it was dually connected with her number (not sure how tbh, she worked for a carrier for a long time).

It's just hard to find that thin line between allowing them to have something or have them be behind all their friends who do have access to one.

My policy would probably be worse, tbh. I'd toss them an old Nokia and be like, "Legends say it'll take the force of an 18 wheeler and a flood and still work." For context, I had a friend who ran his over 3 times with his dad's mack truck, reducing it to just a screen and PCB which he used as his phone at school. Then I watched him accidentally drop and fully submerge said screen and PCB into a half foot deep puddle while we ran down a mountain in a thunderstorm and that sucker still worked.

It was his experiment, to keep trying to destroy it to the point where he couldn't use it but have to use it if it did. I think it died not too long after, though.

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[-] [email protected] 13 points 1 month ago

I really like this idea. I am going to mention it to my partner. We have been trying to craft a policy for it recently.

[-] 0_0j 6 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Best answer yet. Plus, you can sneak on then when in doubt with FindMyPhone or something. Thank you.

[-] pdxfed 3 points 1 month ago

No, that is bullshit. If you don't trust them or if they can't be trusted don't give them a phone. Nanny parenting, or pretending you're the NSA is unhealthy for their development, and gives you an illusion of control of their life that is inaccurate and misleading.

Talk to your fucking kid about your worries or their behavior and/or parent them, actually drive behavioral change, but don't bitch out and not parent and pretend the E-leash is helping them or you.

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[-] ilinamorato 5 points 1 month ago

We just did this a month or so ago. My wife's old Pixel 4a got a data-only SIM, and we locked it down extensively with a profile for each of the older kids (9 and 7). Websites and apps are allow-only. They can call or text us through Google Chat, and we also allow Pokemon Go and a couple of other things. We call it the "Family Phone," and they don't have unlimited access to it, but it's handy to have something to hand them when they leave the house without us.

[-] foggy 55 points 1 month ago

Honestly, if I can afford it I'm getting it to them whenever other parents are getting it to their kids.

There were plenty of parents who held off on getting things like TV, the Internet, and it had no pronounced effect.

My buddy just had a kid and proudly said "they're never getting a smartphone." And I was like "dude you slept over my house to watch porn because you didn't have Internet in the 90s. You do you, but like... Idk. That won't go the way you think it will."

[-] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago

Are you sure it didn't have any effect? I have seen some kids who wouldn't put their phone away when they are walking, when they are talking to others , etc. Their attention span is so low they cant even concentrate.

Also the dangers of the internet and what stuff you can find. I will give them a phone when they are old enough to understand that. Maybe 15 -16

[-] foggy 13 points 1 month ago

Yes, I'm sure. This is a tale as old as time.

Same was said of newspapers. Same was said of television. Same was said of videogames. Same was said of the internet.

Humans get new tool. Old people who grew up without tool look down on young for overusing tool.

[-] ChexMax 3 points 1 month ago

I mean sometimes it has /some/ effect. I'm in my late 20s, so was a kid somewhat recently. We grew up without television. We had movies, and we had the Internet, but no TV. My dad didn't want us mindlessly wasting time on stuff we weren't even interested in just because it was what was "on right now." Not to mention the accumulative hours of watching ads.

We all ended up more creative and artistic than our peers, and my relationships with my siblings are stronger than those of my friends. We read a lot (though people I knew with TV also often read a lot so I don't think that's necessarily a given, though I know I myself would not have been regularly reading a book a day in middle school if TV had been an option)

I'm just saying limiting time wasted on media is often net positive.

[-] BeefPiano 3 points 1 month ago

How old are your kids now?

[-] [email protected] 43 points 1 month ago

Unrelated to the question but can we please drop the Reddit habit of adding “of Lemmy” to the question? You’re asking Lemmy, no need to add it to every question.

No ill will to OP!

[-] TORFdot0 25 points 1 month ago

I agree, because these posts have reach beyond just Lemmy, it’s the whole fediverse. No need to address just one platform

[-] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago

Honestly. I don't know why I found that so fucking annoying but I used to skip posts with that style of title.

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[-] [email protected] 30 points 1 month ago

My kids are grown now so my comment probably isn't all that relevant anymore, but I don't think there should be a set age to give your kid a smart phone. Different kids mature and learn at different ages, even ones from the same household.

For my kids, I got them their first phones in their early teens but those phones were somewhat restricted so that we could still communicate easily but we knew they couldn't get into too much trouble with them. As time progressed the restrictions slowly lifted as we knew we could trust them more to not get into trouble with them.

I've always believed it's not a parents duty to protect their child from the world as much as it is to prepare them for it. Of course kids are going to make stupid decisions if you let them go too far (we all have) so I think it's more about slowly easing them into things and helping them make the right decisions the best we can.

[-] [email protected] 10 points 1 month ago

Exactly. You can't just say that X age is too young to get a phone, because age doesn't determine the kid's level of resposibility or their ability to practice healthy phone usage and internet safety. And also some kids simply need a phone more than others.

[-] 0_0j 7 points 1 month ago

Tbh kids have zero idea of what's out there... controlling their exposure IS important. shitty, but important!

[-] [email protected] 26 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

3 kids. 13, 11 and 11 now. 10 years old was what my ex and I did with data plans coming a year after that.

Phone is like any other tool. It is my job as a parent to teach my children the proper way to use it.

[-] [email protected] 22 points 1 month ago
[-] 5PACEBAR 3 points 1 month ago

Thanks! Subscribed! 😀

[-] [email protected] 20 points 1 month ago

Can't remember when exactly. But basically as soon as they wanted to roam around in a bigger radius. Maybe 6, 7 or 8. It gave them the security to explore. They know that it's GPS tracked. And if they don't feel well they can always call us, even if it's just so that they don't feel alone.

Sure, we didn't have that as kids. But we also had phone booths on every corner and some change in our pockets.

[-] [email protected] 15 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

We gave my son a smart phone at 8, because his mother and I lived in different states and he flew as an unaccompanied minor a LOT. I also lived in Oakland and I wanted to be able to reach him and to know where he was when he was with me.

We had strict rules about when he was allowed to have it on and when he was not allowed to NOT have it. We also didn't get him a data plan and made him use Wifi.

As a result of him actually being impressively responsible with that phone, we turned on the data and relaxed the rules probably years earlier than we would have under other circumstances.

[-] [email protected] 12 points 1 month ago

My oldest got a smart watch which could make calls only to preset numbers that we added (mom, dad, grandma, aunt, and one neighbor who had a son the same age) at 9. That's when he started getting dropped off at friends' houses without a parent sticking around (mind you - this was just coming off COVID lockdowns, so we may have done it sooner if there was a need to). I wanted him to always be able to reach us in any situation. He's a really responsible kid, so he got a full smartphone the summer after 5th grade (11) when he went on the class trip to Washington DC. Currently in middle school with a smartphone and no issues yet, plus it gives us something valuable to him to take away if we feel he's letting grades slip, etc.

My second does not seem to share the same level of responsibility, so he did not get his smart watch until 10. He may not get a smartphone anytime soon. It depends on the kid.

My youngest is 8. Time will tell about how responsible he is, but Lord - this is the child that WILL need to call us. Always getting into something 🤦🏻‍♀️.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 1 month ago

It’s shown in school that kids who get phones and tablets before 5 have a hard time using computers with a keyboard and mouse interface.

Having a dumb phone is a current consideration. We have a smart phone on a separate carrier that we loan to a kid on an as needed basis like sleep overs so they can contact us in an emergency.

I’ve told the kids I’ll buy them a smart phone when they can afford the monthly service. It’s not that I can’t, it’s that they will need to learn how to manage money, and having to pay for my pager in the 90s was a good start for me. Not getting it sooner means it won’t feel like a punishment when they start.

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[-] hedgehogging_the_bed 9 points 1 month ago

I've got twin girls. We held off on smartphones until this past summer when they turned 13.

One couldn't wait to have a smart phone and now handles her own entire social life through it and is happier than ever now that she can communicate with her friends non stop.

The other simply did not want a phone. We asked a dozen times and she said she wasn't interested in one and didn't think she would use it. Since she's with her twin 75% of the time anyway we decided not to push.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

Chaperoned a group of 13-14 yo 8th graders to a school-organized out-of-state civics trip. Only one kid out of ten didn't have a smartphone. 🤷🏻‍♂️

We got ours a flip-phone around 11 to coordinate after-school pickup, then a smartphone at 13, mainly because of involvement in cross-country and wanting to know where the kid was. Social apps or gaming with strangers will be disabled until 16.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Our first daughter had a old smart phone at about 8 (she has just turned 9). It doesn't have data turned on, so is more or less a dumb phone unless she is at home. I don't think her little sister could care less about getting one.

I think that it's good for her to have one as it means she can contact us if she goes up the road to her friends or park/shop.

She doesn't have it for at school or general day to day life - so it may not be the best example

[-] billwashere 6 points 1 month ago

When they started staying after school for functions like choir or sports and I wanted them to have a way to tell me they were done. It was for their safety but also for my own selfish reasons. Win win.

[-] LifeOfChance 5 points 1 month ago

We started at 3y/o. With that said we did so in a controlled way. So the original plan was a tablet but for a fraction of the price we got a very basic smartphone with no service meaning just at home with internet. We started with a max of 20m once a week to make it kind of special but nothing something to become crazy about. Over the years we have given more time for things like chores with a max of 2h a week typically stretched out over the week and some times we would just have a lazy day with it so all 2h in one go. We knew it was tech that she was going to need skills with so we don't count things like learning math or enligh against the hours allowed. We began practicing how to text and make calls with our phones and routinely make blocked calls when she's using one of our phones to see what she does and to encourage open communication with us. For us this method has worked amazingly but I know this is not the norm for most.

[-] Zerlyna 5 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Mine is almost 12 and I’m not sure she is ready for that. She has an iPad now and her friends all chat via Discord. I have an old phone for 911 calls only.

[-] Fake4000 5 points 1 month ago

I would keep a small dumb phone as a family phone for when kids go on trips and sleep overs. They get a personal smartphone at around the age of 16 or 18.

[-] 0_0j 5 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Depends heavily on where you are (and customs around your community)

For me, my parents gave me a smartphone when I was going to college, I kid you not.

Yes, I wished I had it sooner, but I turned out ok. Glad they didn't tho. social media additions and withdrawals are real.

Edit: If I get corned with smarty-pants about this, [email protected]'s tactic is the way to go.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I bought myself a 7 inch tablet when I was 8, and I used that as a smartphone. It was small enough to fit into most pockets, and looking at smartphones now, I guess I was just ahead of time with that screen size.
Yes, bought myself. It was the cheapest Android tablet, costing €50. It was quite a bit for me at the time, but nothing unrealistic. My parents didn't give me any pocket money, but you know, I had a grandma. She'd sometimes give me like 10-20 bucks and tell me to keep it away from my parents. And probably a similar amount in food each time I visited her xD.

As for internet, basically unrestricted access, and that turned out well for me. I'd be really (much more) dumb without all that access to information. Now, we didn't have internet, and we still don't (I am 18 now), so how? I've had a dumbphone before, with a SIM card of course. I could use 250MB for 50¢ for a day and top up the credit at basically any supermarket.
Obviously, that wasn't good for everyday usage. But there was something else. WiFi. Like half the people left WPS PIN enabled, with the default PIN. I then used app called "WPS WPA Tester" which had some 14 default PINs it would try. And it usually worked. Even if it didn't, 12345678 was a fairly common password.
However, I did understand that it's not quite good, so when I wanted to download something larger (>50MB), I went to places with public WiFi. Usually the bus station.

Social media: I've only used Facebook for a long time because my parents wanted me to have that (how ironic). However, I've deleted it when I was 12. Too much dumb stuff. I've seen some classmates use Snapchat, and I liked the filters. However I thought it was just a camera app, but when I downloaded it, I found it needs me to sign up. I've always had the same allergy to signing up on random places, so I quickly uninstalled it.
When I was 13 I signed up on Twitter and Quora. Twitter mainly for space-related accounts like NASA, SpaceX, Scott Manley, NSF,... and Quora occasionally had questions even I could answer.
At 14 I got my first laptop which needed an OS. I liked Linux Mint (and didn't even understand the difference between Windows) and Reddit had a nice community for LM. So I signed up on Reddit.
At 15 I signed up on Telegram for the PixelExperience community as I installed the PE 11 custom ROM on my Moto G5s Plus.
At 17 I created an account here on Lemmy, ditched Reddit (due to API changes), deleted Quora account and deleted the Telegram account.

Overall I think it was mostly positive. It allowed me to learn a lot and get in contact with more people. I wouldn't even know any English at all without it, which basically unlocked me the gate to most information. And now, I'd probably be mostly a copy of my parents, which would be terrible. Fun fact: The first website I visited when I got internet access was Wikipedia. So much information in 1 place.

But yeah, I should mention some negatives too. I did spend quite a bit of time watching Minecraft and FNAF videos. Although before the tablet I spent all that time with TV, so I guess not much difference.
I should also probably mention that until high school I didn't even take my devices to school because I was worried about them getting stolen or broken. I never broke a screen, so that was a success.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Quite a story.Respect.And worthy of turning it into a blog post!

[-] 0_0j 3 points 1 month ago

I never broke a screen, so that was a success.

wow. respect.

[-] Anticorp 5 points 1 month ago

I guess my kid was 16 when he got his first cell phone. I was 26 before I got my first cell phone. Being older solved this difficult problem for me.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago

My kids are 5, and Im not sure it's on the horizon in the next few years. There are no answers here, but I have the same question and have been wondering about how others approach this.

I didn't haven't my first phone until 25, and it's a different, much more connected world now, however.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 1 month ago

Teach them how to use a computer first. Phones are very easy to learn eventually

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[-] [email protected] 2 points 1 month ago

A family I know give their kids limited screen time per day on the home laptops. No phones yet.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

15, before that it was a dumbphone for emergencies. Had a tablet too, but use was restricted and the device was locked down.

[-] eran_morad 4 points 1 month ago

Apple Watch with a cellular calling plan when he started walking to school by himself, at age 8. No need for a proper phone for a while.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 1 month ago

My wife and I had this conversation the other day. Our kid is only two right now, but as we've learned, these milestones sneak up on you.

I used my own life as a guide to my opinion, and so landed on age eight or so. That's around the age I remember being able to go to the park or to a friend's house within the neighbourhood on my own.

Other questions about how much functionality the phone would have and how much access they would have to it at home are still to be determined.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 1 month ago

We gave our kid their first proper smartphone when they had to do a bit of travel to get to school. However, I've fully embraced the parental controls of Google family link and Microsoft safety and it's been great so far. The combination of both provides incredibly granular controls to what they can see on the web, how long they use specific apps and what apps they're allowed to install.

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[-] Crackhappy 2 points 1 month ago

Four kids, smartphone distribution from top to bottom was about 15, 14, 14, 12. It was all of course dependent on the age of the kid and the ability to cope with the immense wealth of bullshit you get from having a smartphone.

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this post was submitted on 20 Apr 2024
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