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High-tech Parenting: Technology Milestones for Kids: Studio 5

Under pressure to let your kids go hi-tech? Get expert advice on when to let children have a cell phone, open a Facebook account and more. Studio 5 Contributor and therapist, Julie Hanks, has tips to help you manage kids and technology.

1) At what age should a child have a cell phone?

Age 12 is the earliest I’d recommend a basic cell phone for safety reasons.
Age 16 is the earliest for smart phones.

Tech Tip: Encourage responsibility by having them pay for monthly fee and any additional charges.
Tech Tip: Have child check in phone at night, before bedtime.


2) At what age should a child have a Facebook account?

Age 14-15 with parental oversight of online activity. Facebook requires you agree that you are at least 13 before you can set up an account.

Tech Tip: Have current login information to child’s social media accounts and check them randomly.
Tech Tip: Require that your child add you as a “friend”.

3) At what age should a child have a video game system?

Ages 4 + activity based games on Wii or Xbox Kinect. Games should focus on physical activity, social skills, and basic decision making skills.
Age 8 + for Handheld devices like 3DS or PSP. Games should focus on development of interests, increased confidence and competence in their abilities.
Age 14 + for more intense games.

Tech Tip: limit gaming time and encourage social and physical activity.
Tech Tip: Beware of violence first-person shooter games as they desensitize to real-life.

4) At what age should your child have an iPod Touch/iPad?

Ages 12 is the youngest age for iPod Touch/iPad, and only with parental restrictions. Identity is the main developmental task during teenage years. Music, entertainment and playing games are a large part of adolescent identity.

Tech Tip: Get familiar with device “settings” so you can restrict web browsing, app installation, YouTube, etc.

5) At what age should a child have a laptop?

Age 18 is the age I’d recommend unsupervised use of laptop.

Tech Tip: All computer usage should be in open area of home and under supervision.

More Parenting Tech Tips:

· There is no such thing as confidentiality when it comes to internet/wifi usage.

· Parents should have log in and passwords to all online accounts, phones, texts.

· No phones, TV’s, or computers, iPad devices in bedrooms or after hours for safety and good sleep habits.

· Most tech gadgets have Internet access so monitor closely.

· Check and set parental controls on all electronic devices.

· No unsupervised Internet access on personal devices until 18.

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