Experts explain the right time to give kids cell phones - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Experts explain the right time to give kids cell phones

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As students head back to school, many parents are deciding whether to buy their child their first cell phone.

But when is the best age to buy a cell phone for your child, and how do you keep them in line while they're online?

Everyday we're surrounded by technology every day, and it's said to be a never ending cycle -- putting down one device and picking up another.

Experts say in today's technology driven society, it's not easy for people to unplug.

So the question remains -- when is it appropriate to introduce children to cell phones?

"The great advantage of the technology is that you can know where your child is and if your child needs to contact you they can," explained U of L Family Therapy Program Dr. Eli Karam.

We often see kids using cell phones, but the age seems to get younger every day.

As a parent - you want to be proactive, but not reactive. You should model the rules you put in place.

"You don't want to lay any rule down around cell phone use or technology that you cant hold to yourself," said Karam.

Otherwise, you lose credibility, and setting those boundaries can be difficult.

The biggest issue: when is it appropriate to use your cell phone, and when should you power down?

"Many families have what we call shut off technology period including the phone so that could be at dinner time," advised Karam, "That could be at homework time, or a cutoff time for the latest we could use technology."

When cell phones are on, kids need to use them wisely, because mom and dad go back through the phones to see what their children are doing to an extent.

"You should never post anything, send anything, a picture, a text, a message that you probably wouldn't be comfortable with your parent reading at some point," said Karam.

Karam also went on to say, "Most parents, while I think its good to have the ability to check, I think its also good to honor your son or daughters privacy unless there are red flags."

When everyone's on the same page- or screen- it should make matters at home, easy to handle.

"To set the family up for success you should have clear expectations and what would happen if that's not done," said Karam.

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