When you have kids, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll start asking you for a smartphone. Since Apple is extremely good at advertising, most kids will ask their parents for an iPhone. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but iPhones are expensive and may not be appropriate for a child.
There are two main points to consider here. The first is whether or not your child should have a smartphone at all. The second is if an iPhone is the right device. What’s right for your child will depend on a handful of factors addressed below.
Does your child really need a smartphone?
First things first. If your child doesn’t need a smartphone, then they don’t need an iPhone. Kids always want things they see advertised and what their friends are carrying around. If the only reason they want an iPhone is because they saw an ad or all their friends have one, it might not be the best investment.
On the other hand, if you need a way to reach your child during the day or on the weekends, then it would be good for them to have their own smartphone.
There’s no general consensus on what age a child should be when they get their first smartphone, but considering the fact that it’s a pocket-sized computer, it’s probably best to wait until they’re at least thirteen. However, some parents give their six-year-olds phones and install strict parental controls. It really just depends on your family’s needs.
Are you willing to lose the cost of an iPhone?
Anytime you buy a smartphone for a child, you have to consider it a loss. At some point, they will either crack the screen or break the whole phone. Phone repair places say they get more repairs for iPhones than any other manufacturer. It’s not that iPhones are bad; it’s just that more people have them than, say, Samsung smartphones.
If you do choose to say yes to their request for a smartphone, you can (and should) get your child a durable iPhone case at the very least. This is especially important if you’re buying them an expensive device, like the iPhone 15. Some kids will be happy to get a refurbished older model, but teenagers can be insistent about getting the latest and greatest tech.
Can you use parental controls?
If your child is younger, you’ll definitely want to implement parental controls on their smartphone, whether you get them an iPhone or something else. Make sure you have the ability to enable these controls on the phone you buy for them. You can restrict applications as well, like iMessage, but children are resourceful. They will find ways to fix your iMessage.
Also, find out how kids are getting around these controls (if at all) because if they’re a teenager, it’s almost guaranteed they’ll find a workaround somehow. For example, deleting an app and reinstalling it removes limitations placed on the app.
Does the whole family have iPhones?
On the plus side, if the whole family has an iPhone, it makes sense to get one for your child, even as their first device. This makes it easier to monitor and track their activity and restrict features through parental controls on your main account.
Are you willing to restrict screen time?
Although everyone, including adults, benefits from less screen time, young kids need the most supervision and restrictions. You don’t want your kid to sit on their phone all day, staring at that tiny screen doing who knows what.
Kids used to go outside and play all day and now all they do is stare at their phones. If you want to get your child an iPhone, be sure you’re also willing to restrict their screen time. They need to learn balance early.
Is an iPhone truly in your budget?
Most importantly, if an iPhone isn’t in your budget, it’s not appropriate to get one for your child. This should go without saying. No matter how much they insist they need one or they can’t function, don’t cave if you don’t have the extra money.
iPhones are expensive, and you can expect to pay at least $400 to $600 for a refurbished one. However, you’ll have to factor in the cost of the monthly plan, which is often a 24-month commitment.
Last, but not least, when considering your budget, always account for phone insurance. If your child damages the phone within the first month or two, you’ll be glad you bought the insurance because it will save you hundreds of dollars.
Should you buy your child an iPhone? Maybe
If it’s in your budget and you want to be able to maintain contact with your child, then an iPhone might be a good choice. Only you can know what’s best for your family.