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Internet on Child’s Phone


What are some of the pros and cons of Internet access on a child’s phone? My 11-year-old wants to have this access on her phone.



You daughter is at the age where you most likely closely monitor her interactions with others to be sure she is using her interpersonal skills appropriately. You would correct her if she was rude to an adult or unkind to a friend and then teach her more appropriate ways to act. This is necessary for our children to be socially successful throughout their lives. 

Unfortunately, an increasing number of children are losing opportunities to practice and enhance these skills due to electronics such as cell phones and iPads. These devices allow them to text and “chat” rather than hold face-to-face conversations with other individuals.

Typically, we recommend that parents who have younger children only consider cell phones if it’s to resolve a safety concern, such as walking home from school alone or remaining at home alone for an extended amount of time. If your daughter needs a cell phone for safety reasons, then a basic phone satisfies this need. The ability to dial and call someone in case of an emergency is all that is necessary. Everything else is a bonus.  

Having a cell phone is a huge privilege and is one that is ​earned through positive behaviors. It is not something that is easily given or just happens at a certain age. If these larger privileges are earned too early or not earned at all, you as a parent are setting the bar low for the next privilege to be asked for. You don’t want her to have nothing left to ask for before she is of driving age.

The Internet can be a very scary place for children. If not monitored carefully, they can access all sorts of inappropriate information and “meet” inappropriate people as well. Even teenagers should have their Internet access limited. Parents act as filters for outside influences from the media and society for their children. Monitor what she watches on TV, what she reads and what websites she surfs on the Internet.  

Your daughter’s age is a consideration when determining whether or not to give her Internet access on her phone. So are the reasons why she wants the Internet.  Does she want it for homework purposes? Or does she want it for entertainment or because other kids have it? Is she trustworthy? There is a lot of valuable information on the Web, but there is also a lot of inappropriate information. Consider these points when determining if your daughter is the right age and personality for such a big privilege at this time.