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Is Your Child Ready for a Smartphone?

By Julie Davis
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- When is it appropriate to give kids a cellphone?

That depends on factors like their maturity level, their ability to follow rules at home and school, and your family's circumstances, including health and safety issues. For instance, if both parents work outside the home, it's easier to check in with a child during the day if he or she has a phone.

Middle school is when many kids start using smartphones, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. More and more children use them when they reach the tween and then the teen years.

But no matter what your child's age, as soon as you OK a cellphone, set rules for behavior and personal safety. Decide on privacy settings and child safety controls offered through your wireless provider and the phone itself.

You might want to limit web access or downloading. Above all go over important precautions with your child, like never giving out personal information and not answering texts from strangers. Experts say this is a conversation you'll need to have a few times for the information to really sink in.

Here are the key safety rules to teach kids:

  • Ignore texts from anyone they don't know.
  • Never post their cellphone number online.
  • Never provide any kind of information requested through a text.
  • Block callers who could be dangerous.

Also discuss when and where it's OK to use the phone and when it should be turned off each night, like when homework starts. Helping your child avoid an overuse problem with a cellphone will prevent an unhealthy dependency from forming.

More information

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has more on kids and cellphones to help you choose the right one as well as establish the right rules for your family.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=729159

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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