Lots of parents wonder, when is the appropriate age to allow a child access to her own mobile phone. While 11 is a popular choice, there is no single right age for a child to have a mobile phone. It depends upon a child’s maturity level. If you are providing a child with access to the internet, you need to make sure she has the skills and understanding to use that access responsibly. Images, text and video can be uploaded instantly. A child needs to use this privilege respectfully and be careful not to embarrass or harass others.
Before a young person receives her first mobile phone, it should be clear that she understands how to use it responsibly. This includes a serious discussion on acceptable online behaviour, including what is and is not ok to post online and on social media. For example, young people love to take photos and videos of themselves, but it should be explained that once these items are posted, they can easily fall into the hands of strangers. All mobile phone providers offer free parental control settings, which can stop children from accessing inappropriate content online. Parents may wish to check these are switched on before handing over a mobile phone to a child.