When To Give Your Kid a Smartphone

It can be tempting to give your kids a smartphone as soon as they turn 13, but experts recommend waiting until their 15th birthday. Everyone is different and parents should make decisions based on what’s best for their individual child.

The “what age should a child get a smartphone” is a question that parents have been asking for years. The answer to this question is not so simple, but usually children are given their first phone at around the age of 10.


Parents have always struggled with knowing when to let their children experience key “firsts” and milestones as they mature. It was their first time going to the bus stop on their own. It was their first time riding their bike alone to a convenience shop. Obtaining employment. Obtaining a valid driver’s license.  

In each scenario, the parent must determine if the kid is ready to accept the responsibility that comes with the new privilege. They must decide if the hazards associated with the newfound independence are worth the advantages to the youngster. No external organizations, with the exception of obtaining a driver’s license, have established a certain age at which a suitable balance of these criteria is normally achieved. All parents have to do is utilize their common sense and wing it.

When it comes to dealing with a problem that didn’t exist when many of today’s parents were growing up: when a child should acquire their first smartphone, the impromptu nature of these types of judgments is especially evident.

When is it OK to give a child their first smartphone?

When a young adult should be allowed to receive their first smartphone is a difficult decision. On the one hand, research shows that spending more time online is linked to increased rates of sadness and anxiety, and every adult is aware of how much of a distraction their own phones can be — and they’re not even as socially aware and connected as their children! 

Having a smartphone, on the other hand, may be critical for enabling young people to interact with their peers these days (and for facilitating schoolwork and extracurriculars as well). Cutting children off from such chances to socialize with their friends may result in the despair that a smartphone-free parent is attempting to avoid.  

These days, the average age at which a youngster receives their own smartphone is 10. Is this, however, an appropriate age for parents to bring such sophisticated technology into their children’s lives? Is there an optimal age to introduce a smartphone to children that permits them to gain from its connection-building advantages while minimizing its possibly negative consequences?

While addressing this issue isn’t a science, we were curious how people who have spent a lot of time considering the influence of digital technology on human brains and culture would respond. (Bill Gates, for example, did not give each of his three children a smartphone until they were 14 years old.) As a result, we contacted three IT experts to see what they had to say:

Dr. Larry D. Rosen is a co-author of The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World and an emeritus professor of psychology. You can listen to our audio interview with Adam Gazzaley, his co-author on that book, here.

“I used to think that 12 was the magical age when youngsters discovered social media and began communicating with their pals digitally.” However, in light of the epidemic and the rising usage among preteens, I believe that 10 or 11 is sufficient if the youngster is losing out on social opportunities.


I am, however, vehemently opposed to just handing a youngster a phone with no restrictions or limitations. It should be apparent from away that the phone belongs to the parents and that the kid has permission to use it as long as it is used responsibly. This necessitates a lot of dialogue between parents and children in order to establish such limits. One obvious rule is that no phone calls should be made until schoolwork is completed. Another option is to impose a time restriction on phone usage and only allow new applications to be downloaded with the approval of the parent.” 

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked is written by Dr. Adam Alter, a marketing and psychology professor who is also the author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. You can listen to Adam’s Irresistible interview on our podcast here. 

“The sweet spot is allowing your kids to use devices as late as they want, but not so late that your choice to withhold puts them in a socially awkward situation.” It’s a fine line to tread. I don’t believe there is a single age that works for everyone, but I wouldn’t let my kids use screens until they’re old enough to have a reasoned discussion about the major issues: when and how much screen time is appropriate; why we don’t use screens without limits; what to watch out for (bullying, abuse, etc. ); and which platforms are okay and which aren’t (which should obviously evolve as kids age). I don’t believe many kids are mature enough to manage the stressors of computers until they’re in their mid-teens, and even then, just a small percentage of youngsters use social media sites at that age.”

Cal Newport is a computer science professor and the author of seven books, including Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World and Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. You can listen to our Digital Minimalism audio conversation with Cal here. 

“I believe that giving kids free access to cellphones should be delayed until they are at least 16 years old.” In the meanwhile, feature phones may be used to keep in touch with family and friends through text. Giving a hyper-social and volatile teenage brain free access to brain hacking services like social media and video games has been shown to be hazardous. Most of the time, it’s simpler to work on the social difficulties that come with not having a smartphone at that age than it is to work on the ones that come with having one.”

In these types of conversations, it’s sometimes said that there is no “correct” age for a child to get their first smartphone, that it will be determined by the child’s specific degree of maturity rather than a predetermined chronological number. While this may be true for arriving on a gradient within a range, we would argue that it isn’t true when it comes to determining a minimum age. Parents should have a firm line in mind before allowing their children’s thoughts and lives (and the family’s life as a whole) to shift radically. Because, make no mistake, introducing a smartphone into your child’s life will have a significant impact. Their head will become more buried in their phone, with less of it addressing you and the rest of the world. 


While no writer or lecturer can tell you when is the best time to give a smartphone to your kid, you should keep the following cautions and factors in mind: Start with a “dumbphone” that can only be used for calls and messages to observe how your child reacts. When you do let them use a smartphone, talk to them about the long-term consequences of what they post online (“Never publish anything you wouldn’t want exposed to the whole world”). Be emphatic about the importance of balancing digital communication with the in-person kind, demonstrating the value of face-to-face interactions both in your words, and even more importantly, in your example. Set clear limits for when your kid can use their phone (after schoolwork is completed) and when they can’t (at the dinner table). Some parents even create more formal “contracts” that spell out such rules (and the consequences for violating them). 

To obtain a driver’s license, the law establishes a minimum age and requirements, which include attending classes that include both “book work” and “hands-on instruction.” In many cases, the adolescent must first obtain a “learner’s permit,” which restricts when and how they can drive and requires an experienced driver to accompany them in the passenger seat. While driving a car has substantial physical risks, using a smartphone comes with its own set of risks. As a result, achieving the later milestone should be contingent on completing exactly as much schooling and coaching as achieving the former.



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The “what age should a child get a smartphone in india” is an interesting question. There are many opinions on the subject. Some people say that children should not have smartphones until they’re older, while others believe that it’s best to give them one as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age should you give your child a smartphone?

A: It depends on the child. Some children can handle a smartphone from an early age, while some need to be more supervised at first until they are ready for such responsibility.

What age should a child get a Smartphone 2021?

A: In 2021, the average age for getting a smartphone will be 10.

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