How much smartphone is good for my child? This is what family experts in Mallorca advise

“Mom, dad, I want a cell phone!” Parents of elementary school children should already be familiar with this phrase. According to a 2019 study by the Xplora Institute, 60 percent of children in Spain want their own mobile phone before they turn nine. And many parents give in. According to data from the Spanish statistical institute INE 66 percent of 10 to 15-year-olds already have their own mobile phone. For children over the age of twelve, the proportion even rises to 75 percent. The question remains: is it actually a good thing?

It is not surprising that children and young people are attracted to smartphones. They are an integral part of everyday life in almost all families. According to a study by the Complutense University in Madrid, young people hope to access this supposed borderless world, where mom and dad are constantly lingering, with their own smartphone. she striving for prestige and independence. Excessive cell phone use often has the opposite effect: Difficulties in everyday communication, low stress tolerance and the inability to find solutions to problems by yourself are just some of the consequences that the scientific study mentions. So how to accompany the child so that smartphone use does not degenerate?

Just not too soon

It is ideal that young people only from 16 or even 18 years own smartphone according to a descriptive guide from the alternative mobile phone provider Som Connexió from Barcelona. Since this can hardly be implemented today, it is strict recommendation to prohibit at least children under the age of twelve from owning a mobile phone.

The parents should then be clear about the needs that must be met by giving the child a mobile phone. Is it about being able to contact the child if, for example, he is traveling alone with local public transport? “For such situations, one is enough Mobile phone without internet connectionwhich you can only call with,” say the experts at Som Connexió.

When it comes to making sure kids don’t feel excluded from their peers in the digital world, parents could help them too ask their own smartphone at times, for example so that the children can join chat groups of friends. Here, however, it must always be checked whether the contact really has to take place via smartphone – or whether it is possible in person without problems. Video games and excessive use of social media or wild web surfing should remain completely off-limits for children.

Agreement instead of prohibition

From the age of 12 it is recommended that Clearly regulate mobile phone useto discuss times and conditions with the children in advance – and the Keep agreements in writing. What can the smartphone be used for? Not for what? Special control programs for parents can help check whether the offspring comply with the agreements. Even more important, however, is open communication with the children. Instead of simply banning them, it makes more sense to clearly explain the risks to young people and together develop proposals to avoid them.

Specifically, Som Connexió advises children between the ages of 12 and 15 to use their smartphones for a maximum of 30 minutes a day in a closed WLAN – and that’s neither shortly after getting up nor shortly before going to bed or while the TV is on or while eating. Parents should also be nearby at first and not leave the child alone with the device. Step by step, conditions could then be made more relaxed.

Step by step privacy

From the age of around 15, according to the recommendation, the hours of use could be increased to an hour and a half on weekdays and three hours a day at the weekend. Some degree of digital privacy should also be granted. However, it is important to keep discussing with the young people what they are doing on their smartphones. The same applies here: Open communication is more important than authoritarian bans.

From the age of 18, it makes sense to sign the mobile phone contract in the name of the offspring to give them a sense of responsibility. He or she should also be able to decide for themselves when to choose a tariff.

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