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Aenima

Gadgets for children

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Would you buy your children a tablet/smartphone till their teen years? From what age did you allow your children to use gadgets at all?

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Welcome to the forum, Aenima!

My ds19 got his first cell phone at age 4, and he had his own computer before then and was allowed to use any electronics in the house as soon as he was capable of operating them. We never had age limits. I don’t know what other “gadgets” you mean, but if you’re talking about things like handheld gaming systems, I can’t remember exactly how old he was when he got his first one, but he was quite young — certainly nowhere near his teen years, probably more like 6 or 7. He never had any issues with self-regulation, so I never worried about it, but I can understand why parents restrict or limit access to electronic devices if their kids have a different type of personality. 

I don’t think there are necessarily right or wrong answers to questions like yours, because every child is different. 

Edited by Catwoman
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It sounds like you are talking about a computer and a phone, not  gadgets in general. 

    Phone is a safety issue, they need to know 911 and their address when able...you might have seen the story on the national news the other night about a 7 year old whose fam didn't have a landline...he couldn't unlock the cellphone to call 911, no neighbor was home, and he was pedaling his bike on a highway, no helmet, no shoulder,  traffic whizzing, on a five mile journey to his grandma's when his teacher saw him and stopped to see what was going on.  His daddy was in a diabetic coma and lived.  Yes, you need to teach phone and allow access enough that the training sticks when child is mature enough. 

  Computer solely belonging to child is a family decision. Mine shared until school demands required that they have their own. Shared cell phone w/o data plan was first due to communication needs, then individual, then w/data plan due to school district assigning homework on the internet without providing enough devices that said work could be done in study hall.  Elementary students here have cell phones....mostly if latchkey, but some are also because of the e-reader.

Edited by HeighHo

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Pretty much what Catwoman said -- Our boys are now 20 and 23. We started getting them acclimated to computers and the internet as soon as they were able to handle a mouse. So around 2 or 3? By the time they were 6 each of them had their own computer. DH is a software guy, and it was important to him to get the boys familiar with computers. We never really restricted their access. We gave each of them dumb phones around 10 (smart phones were just becoming common then, and most kids didn't have them). They each got smart phones a little before their 16th birthdays. We wanted them to have GPS capability when they started driving. Ours never had any problems with self regulation, and sometimes I wonder if it's because gadgets and the internet were never restricted. IDK. I do realize the internet is considerably different now than it was when they were young 'uns.

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56 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

It sounds like you are talking about a computer and a phone, not  gadgets in general. 

    Phone is a safety issue, they need to know 911 and their address when able...you might have seen the story on the national news the other night about a 7 year old whose fam didn't have a landline...he couldn't unlock the cellphone to call 911, no neighbor was home, and he was pedaling his bike on a highway, no helmet, no shoulder,  traffic whizzing, on a five mile journey to his grandma's when his teacher saw him and stopped to see what was going on.  His daddy was in a diabetic coma and lived.  Yes, you need to teach phone and allow access enough that the training sticks when child is mature enough. 

  Computer solely belonging to child is a family decision. Mine shared until school demands required that they have their own. Shared cell phone w/o data plan was first due to communication needs, then individual, then w/data plan due to school district assigning homework on the internet without providing enough devices that said work could be done in study hall.  Elementary students here have cell phones....mostly if latchkey, but some are also because of the e-reader.

 

Wow! I hadn’t seen the story about that little boy! Thank goodness his teacher happened to see him and stop to help.

I have to say that I am so impressed by that little boy for being so determined and courageous! His father must be so thankful that his son was willing to do whatever it took to get help for him.

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Speaking of unlocking to dial 911 - teach your kids about the emergency function.  US cell phones can all dial 911 when the phone is locked.  There is usually a spot on the lock screen that says “Emergency” or you can just press 911 on the lock screen and the call goes through. 

It even works on phones with no active service or no SIM installed. 

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And with regards to kids and devices - our family is like some of the previous posters. Our kids had access to devices early on. DD17 had a tablet for reading library books once she started reading - age 4?5?  She got her own laptop for high school and a cell phone then as well.  By the time she was 6 or 7 she was better at texting than I was and answered most of my text messages for me.   We are a high tech family. 

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My DS 16 has never had a "new" phone. He gets hand-me-down phones when we upgrade. He got his first cell phone in 6th grade maybe, but he still doesn't use it much. He got an iPad at around 12 so that he could use it for some school work (along with games and videos of course). It seems like he has always had a gaming system of some kind, but they were not hooked up to the internet until recently. He bought his own lap top computer last summer with money from his summer job. 

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I think that in our modern age using gadgets from small age is ok because tablets for example can be used for watching cartoons and playing educational games. But all these activities should be always controlled by parents till the teenage years of their children. You need to set up limits for their general screen time even if they have their own separate gadgets.
Also the older your children become, the more you should teach them about right, effective and safe using of gadgets. You need to explain them all about possible web dangers and rules for protecting their privacy, like for example avoiding sharing any personal information and photos in social networks. Parental control is a necessary thing too, especially for web searching when children can accidentally find resources with porn, violence and so on. In case of parental control there are a lot of helpful programs for parents which can be used for various gadgets like for example NetNanny, Norton Online Family, Refog Keylogger , Qustodio, Kidlogger, Social Shield etc. All of them are effective for montoring children gadgets activities and blocking all inappropriate content according to filters which their parents choose.

 

Edited by emzhengjiu
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