A safe companion The right cell phone for children: Parents should pay attention to these points
Table of contents
- At what age is a cell phone useful for children?
- What features should a children’s cell phone have?
- How much cell phone time is recommended for children??
- Which cell phone is suitable as an entry-level model??
- How to protect my child from data misuse?
Many parents are critical of the issue, after all, children used to get by without cell phones. Nevertheless, it cannot be completely dismissed that a smartphone can be quite useful – for example, when lessons are cancelled and the actual appointment has to be brought forward for the purpose of picking up from school. Or in an emergency, when a child needs help in a threatening situation. Here, however, the question arises at what age the acquisition of a cell phone makes sense, since most children are under the constant supervision of their parents at a young age. In addition, a smartphone must be tailored to the needs of a child, as there are also various dangers lurking on the Internet.
From what age is a cell phone for children useful?
According to current statistics, in Germany alone around six percent of six- to seven-year-old children and 33 percent of eight- to nine-year-old children own a smartphone. Among ten- to eleven-year-olds, the figure is as high as 75 percent – but topped by 12- to 13-year-olds: 95 percent of them own an Internet-enabled cell phone (as of 2019). However, this does not mean by any means that you should follow suit, quite the contrary. The general pedagogical recommendation says that children should not have their own smartphone before the age of nine. On the other hand, a kind of emergency cell phone that can be used for calls but not for surfing is perfectly legitimate.
According to the KIM study by the Medienpadagogischer Forschungsverbund Sudwest, three out of five children aged eight to nine are online (as of 2018). The most frequently mentioned activities of young Internet users include research via search engines (65 percent), sending WhatsApp messages (62 percent) and YouTube videos (56 percent). And it is precisely for this reason that the responsible use of cell phones is extremely important for children – the awareness of what is right and what is wrong, young students develop only with age. It is therefore all the more important that you do not give your offspring access to the Internet until between the ages of nine and twelve Allow access to the Internet. You can control this via corresponding functions in the smartphone.
What features should a child’s cell phone have?
You need to be aware of this: The younger the user, the more robust the handling of the cell phone. Accordingly, the first phone for your offspring should be as resistant as possible to external influences – for example, by means of a shockproof cover and a screen protector. To keep an eye on the costs for phone calls and SMS, the purchase of a Prepaid cell phones quite practical. Alternatively, there are also special tariffs for children, where you can specify how many free minutes should be made available to the user. In any case, make sure that your child does not "accidentally" use a cell phone This will increase the costs, because you will (legally) have to pay for the bill in the end.
How much cell phone time is recommended for kids?
Even though parents tend to stare at their cell phones all day, their children shouldn’t do the same. Because at the latest when you give them Internet access, the temptation to spend several hours a day surfing the net is great. Unfortunately, since pronounced prohibitions only serve to increase the incentive to disobey the rules, you should make a clear agreement with your child. In plain language, this means: Set a cell phone-free time for each day, for example when homework needs to be done. On the one hand, this teaches children how to use smartphones responsibly, and on the other hand, you reduce the risk of your offspring becoming addicted to cell phones. Depending on how old your child already is, a maximum smartphone usage time per day of 30 minutes recommended for seven to eight year olds and accordingly 45 minutes for eight to nine year olds etc.
Which cell phone is suitable as an entry-level model?
1. Nokia 3310
The cell phone is a true classic: At the end of 2000, the phone conquered the digital market – and is still considered unbeatable in terms of battery life. Apart from that, the cell phone is extremely robust, if not "indestructible" (say loyal fans). Unlike its predecessor, the new edition even has a color display and a 2-megapixel camera. And best of all, the Nokia 3310 has no Internet access, making it ideal for children who only need to use the phone for texting or making calls. Here you can get the model in different colors.
2. Samsung E1200i
The same goes for this cell phone, which also doesn’t allow your child to surf the Internet. Again, the phone scores with its ease of use and long battery life. The model is also extremely robust and also has an SOS message function that can be used in an emergency. So for kids, the cell phone is best when it’s just a matter of making a call with it or writing a text message. With a low price of around 50 euros, the Samsung E1200i is a good and solid entry-level model. Here you can get the cell phone.
3. Cubot Kingkong
If you want to buy your child an internet capable cell phone, the Cubot Kingkong is recommended. The smartphone is waterproof, shockproof and dustproof – making it extremely robust against external influences. With its 4400mAh large battery capacity, the phone lasts for a long time, on top of that it has a built-in GPS module in case your child gets lost and can’t find their way home. Somewhat more expensive to buy than a classic cell phone, the Cubot Kingkong is still relatively inexpensive in contrast to other smartphones from Apple& Co. Here you can find the cell phone.
4. Lisciani Giochi
This Italian smartphone is just as expensive, but it stands out from the other phone, especially visually: The colorful display is primarily intended to appeal to children – thus, the Android 7.0 operating system visually changed significantly. According to the manufacturer, the phone is suitable for six to twelve year olds, as there are various apps on the phone to help students with their studies. Technical highlights include the integrated dual camera, the 2.000mAh battery and the SOS function. Here is the cell phone.
5. Kidicom Max
According to retailers, this phone is recommended for children between four and ten years as a useful alternative to the smartphone. It has the advantage that the messenger function only works when the phone has access to WLAN – ideally only at home or with friends. It also has a rotating camera and child-friendly apps that are supposed to be pedagogically valuable. The biggest advantage, however, is that Kidicom Max comes pre-installed with a child-safe web browser. Here you get the cell phone.
How to protect my child from data misuse?
If you decide to give your child an Internet-enabled smartphone, there are a few points you should consider before handing it over:
- If possible, set a PIN that must be used to unlock the phone – in case your child loses the phone and falls into the hands of a stranger.
- Educate your child in advance about what data they are and are not allowed to store on their phone – the same goes for all social media platforms.
- Determine the apps your child is allowed to use. There are a variety of child-friendly learning and gaming apps that are age-appropriate and can be quite useful in everyday life.
- Prevent your child from buying apps on their own to avoid cost traps – here are special apps that let you add parental controls to the web browser.
One last tip: So you always know where your child is, you can equip it with a GPS tracker. This is simply attached to the school bag in a clearly visible way (but not secretly!) and thus allows you to locate your offspring via smartphone at any time – without distance limit.