Kids and Technology

From the hottest gadgets, to smartphones, gaming consoles, computers, and everything in between, 21st century kids are super savvy when it comes to electronics. Special guest Tech Talker gives parents some guidelines on age-appropriate devices.

Cheryl Butler
Episode #228

Smart/Cell Phones

Mighty Mommy:   Cell phones are probably the most requested gadget by kids. Working parents like the security of knowing their child can have instant access to them if a transportation issue or change in after school activities should occur. But depending on the type of phone the child has, instant access to the internet and social media might also be available. Eric, do you have any guidelines for choosing cell phones for tweens and teens? Are there safety precautions parents can take to limit internet access at certain times to keep texting at bay?

Tech Talker: Cell phones are some of the trickiest devices to limit and guidelines can vary enormously from child to child. If I were buying a phone for a tween or a teen, I would not go out and get the iPhone 5. Instead, I would start the tween with a cheap smartphone (or even a dumb phone). Why, you ask? Well, a simple mobile phone doesn’t have a lot of the capabilities that a smartphone has. While that wouldn’t be ideal for adults, it is perfect for kids because it’s very easy to limit phone usage when all they can do on their phone is call friends and send a few text messages. If they can handle this responsibility for a while, then you could allow them more and more freedom.

Also, teens and tweens are notorious for breaking and/or losing their devices. If you get your kid a pricey smartphone and they lose it after a few weeks, you’re stuck with the hefty bill. However, if you get them a cheap phone, and they do the same, it’s not that bad financially. Plus, if they show that they can take care of a cheap phone, perhaps you can upgrade them to one with moe features as a reward.

MP3 Music Players

Mighty Mommy:   Music and kids go hand in hand, and one of the easiest ways for them to rock out to their favorite tunes is to download hit songs directly to their own iPod or MP3 player. Today’s versions can do much more than stream music; they allow kids to watch movies, get online, interact with others, and more. Eric, do you have any age-based guidelines to consider when purchasing one?

Tech Talker: There’s a reason why Apple’s line of products is so popular. Besides their cool look and a user-friendly interface, Apple products allow users access to a ton of music. And the best part for parents is that you can create your child’s account with certain access limitations. This is great for children who have their own iDevice. They can download music, games, and videos all within the specific parameters that you set in advance. One of the best features I found for parents is the ability to limit the volume your children can hear through their headphones. Of course, the only downside is the price tag. Apple products are quite a bit costlier than other brands.

Thanks for all the great insights and advice, Eric! Make sure to check out Tech Talker’s awesome articles and podcasts. And look for for Part 2 of this series on kids and electronics on the Tech Talker channel this week. He’s a genius at making even the most complex technology simple to understand and implement!

Do you have any rules in place regarding your child’s access to electronic devices? Please let me know in the comments section or on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. I’m also on Twitter @MightyMommy.   You can also email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com

Don’t forget to check out my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.    Stay connected with your kids by tuning into their electronic needs and until next time—happy parenting!

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Game Consoles, Cell Phone and Music Player images courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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