3 Questions to Ask Before Getting your Child a Smartphone

With the release of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, you may feel added pressure to get your child a new device. But before you introduce a fully loaded smartphone, we encourage you to ponder three simple questions.

WHY AM I GETTING MY CHILD A SMARTPHONE?

If the answer is connection, or keeping in touch while they are away from home, consider what other options are available to fill that need. A smart watch or basic phone — like Gabb or Pinwheel — are great alternatives. These options allow your child to stay connected but with limited functionality, while also giving them the opportunity to learn tech etiquette and practice their independence in a low-stake environment.

WHAT ARE THE RULES OR BOUNDARIES FOR THIS SMARTPHONE?

While it is never too late to set — or reset — boundaries, they are most effective when introduced upfront. What boundaries would you like to set in place for your child’s relationship with this new device? See some thought-starters below:

+ Where will the phone be kept at night?

+ Which apps are allowed right now and why?

+ Are there times and places where your family will unplug?

Our free downloadable Smartphone Toolkit is a fantastic place to start when setting expectations. This resource can help you navigate conversations and think intentionally about your family’s smartphone rhythms.

HOW WILL I HELP KEEP MY CHILD SAFE?

With today’s smartphones, kids have the world at their fingertips, but they also have the weight of the world on their shoulders. The truth is smartphones can lead to unsafe people and places, so it’s important to consider how you plan to protect them from ending up somewhere on the internet they never intended to be. You might find a layered filter approach most effective (we rounded up a list of our favorites here). Some families also find it helpful to set social media accounts to private and turn off location tracking settings in applications.