EYES ON PARENTING

Getting your kid a cellphone for Christmas? Here’s what to know

Nov 7, 2017, 4:14 AM

Christmas is right around the corner, which means your child is most likely going to ask Santa for the latest iPhone.

But before you open Pandora’s Box, here are some pointers if you — or Santa — are considering getting your kid their first cellphone.

Sarah Van Holland, a licensed counselor at the Phoenix-based clinic Doorways, said parents always want to know about the latest cellphone technology — and for good reason.

Van Holland said parents should determine what age is appropriate to give their child their first phone.

In general, kids usually have their first cellphone when they enter middle or high school, but parents need to ask themselves why their child needs a phone in the first place.

If your child played sports after school or rode the bus home by themselves, parents might want to think about getting them a phone for safety reasons.

“There are cellphones that you can buy that only have texting capabilities or GPS,” Van Holland said. “You don’t necessarily have to jump straight to iPhone or a smartphone.”

Going through your child’s phone is acceptable form of monitoring, but Van Holland said parents who decide to take that route should establish that rule up front and not go through the phone in a sneaky manner.

And while parents might be concerned with the amount of time that their child spends on their cellphone, Van Holland said they can set ground rules with their children.

“This is not yours, it’s a privilege and to keep you safe, we are going to be going through it,” she said.

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Getting your kid a cellphone for Christmas? Here’s what to know