The answer to that question is that it depends on how smart they are… Kidding. No, but really… how do you know when your kids are ready? My girls had prepaid cell phones briefly when they were 7. They were not ready. As smart as they were, they just did not have a need for a phone, but Daddy got them as birthday gifts. But, Mommy and Daddy drove them everywhere. And they only called myself, Dad, Grandma, Granny, and Granddaddy.

Now, at almost age 10 I think that they would get a lot more use out of a smartphone than they did before. Over the past couple of years each has had one of my old iPhones. They use them around the house on Wi-Fi to stream Pandora, watch YouTube videos and play games. They have learned a bit about what it means to take care of one, and since they use it with parental controls enabled, they know that their are limits, as evidenced in this post and video.

How do you know if your kids are ready?

Are your kids responsible with their toys? Do they take care of them? Or does everything end up broken? If they break everything they probably are not ready. LOL! But, if they do a good job, then consider the following questions:

  • Do your kids attend after school activities at or away from their school?
  • Do your kids take public transportation or a school bus to school?
  • Do your kids walk to and from school?
  • Are your kids old enough to attend sleepovers at friend’s homes?
  • Are your kids old enough to go to parties or outings with friends?
If you answered yes to any of these questions it just might be time. But remember, gifting your child a smartphone does not mean that they have to run up a massive phone and texting bill. There are very easy ways to limit what they can do. The following apps and services from AT&T can help you keep a hold on all of your kids phone activities.
AT&T Smart Limits for Wireless ($4.99/month per line): AT&T Smart Limits for Wireless enables you to provide your children with the freedom and security of a mobile phone while setting sensible boundaries for its use. Using the tool you can block harassing phone calls or texts, prevent 411 charges, restrict purchases, set time restrictions on calls and texts, set limits on monthly texting, and establish trusted and allowed phone numbers.
AT&T Family Map ($9.99/month for two phones, $14.99/month up to five phones): AT&T Family Map allows you to know where your kids are at all times. You can locate family members using either your phone or your computer. Or, you may opt to receive an alert so you know when your kids arrived safely at their destination.
AT&T DriveMode (FREE): AT&T Drive Mode helps you curb the urge to text and drive. When enabled the app sends an auto-reply message to the sender stating that you are driving and will respond later. The message is customizable.
AT&T Content Filter (FREE): AT&T Content Filter is parental controls. It allows you to grant access to only kid-friendly sites, while blocking out inappropriate content.
AT&T Purchase Blocker (FREE): As the name states Purchase Blocker allows you to block purchases like apps and games that are direct-billed to your AT&T account.
These are a few of the services that AT&T offers to ease your mind when thinking about your child’s cell phone use. Read more on the AT&T Family Safety website.
See also:
Disclosure: This post is part of a compensated AT&T campaign. All opinions are my own.