If you have a tween at home, you will be aware that tweens are very tuned into the newest, coolest status symbols around. A mobile phone is definitely one of them. Your tween will be looking for ways to fit in. Having a mobile phone is a way for your tween to feel part of his peer group.


Parents are often faced with decisions based on the difference between what their child wants and what their child needs.


A mobile phone would fit into this category. Parental determinations for what's best for their child are often complicated by the "but all my friends have one” argument. This is a universal ploy used by children of all ages, and parents should not be swayed by this. Make the decision based on what you think is best for your child and your family.


If there are times when your tween is away from home with friends or walking to a destination, send a family mobile phone with him so he can be contacted. This could be reassuring for you, and would give him a limited experience with mobile phones. He could exercise his budding responsibility and "practice" mobile phone use for when he's older.


In some ways, mobile phones can be wonderfully helpful for parents, allowing them to check in regularly with their kids. For most tweens, however, the smartphone is used mainly for social interaction. Tweens can become obsessive about talking or text messaging friends at all hours of the day and night. Setting guidelines for mobile phone use is essential to make life a little bit easier.


Practical parenting pointers:

1.  Tell your son that he will have to wait until he's older to own a mobile phone.

2.  Suggest an appropriate age that you would consider a mobile phone for children in your family.


3.  Consider purchasing a family mobile phone for occasional and specific use by your children for safety purposes.

4.  For parental control over phone use and activities, only allow your child to use the home phone for when contacting friends.

It’s accurate to say that most tweens nowadays have mobile phones. If you’re wondering whether your child should get a mobile phone, below are a few things you should consider:


Does she really need a mobile phone?

She probably doesn’t, but that doesn't mean that a mobile phone doesn’t have its benefits. If your child has a really busy schedule, a mobile phone could help you stay in touch and keep up to date on his whereabouts. The real question that parents must consider is whether their child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of a phone.


Kids, mobile phones and rules

Before you go and purchase a phone for your child, you need to know about school rules and mobile phones. Many schools don’t allow mobile phones on the premises or require that be switched off completely during school hours. Your tween should also understand what the consequences are should they abuse their mobile phone privileges.


It's important to remember that a mobile phone can give tweens and their parents a false sense of security. Make sure your child still understands that all the safety precautions you've taught them over the years still apply. Children need to know that they should never put themselves in a risky situation, such as walking alone at night or taking a lift from a stranger, thinking that a mobile phone will provide them with a safety net. 


What do you think the most appropriate age is for your child to have a smart phone?