Regarding when to give your child a smartphone, Wait until 8th, grade is a view to which some parents subscribe.
Children mature at different rates. CyberCivics, suggests children need seven key skills to demonstrate smartphone readiness. Wait until 8th has another set of guidelines and considerations.
School policies may change, but smartphones in classrooms are mostly a distraction and interfere with learning. Current policy disallows phones in classrooms.
Some families choose to use family technology contracts to support healthy technology use habits. Below are some examples:
- Family Device Agreement - Serious but light-hearted agreement
- Parent/Child Tech Agreement - Download (from CyberWise curriculum & works for any tech, not just smartphones)
- An iPhone Contract from your Mom, with Love
- Family Online Safety Institute - Family Online Safety Contract - Download
- Learning.com's Online Safety Guide For Parents (Comprehensive info with sample contract on page 10-13)
- Safekids.com Family contract for online safety
Students may have a cell phone with them at school as long as they follow the rules.
- Cell phones must be turned off and kept in the student’s backpack during school hours.
- Cell phones seen or heard may be confiscated and parents may be required to pick-up the device.
It is apparent that Smartpones are part of students day to day life, they are a means of connecting with peers. It is important to remember that comments, pictures, etc. (their digital footprint) that are posted, can live forever online. Good decisions are important for kids to make when deciding what to post.