How early should I get my child a smartphone?

The average age that children get their first mobile phone is 10.3 years old (according to Techcrunch). Parents often give their children smartphones so they can contact them in case of emergency e.g. once they start at secondary school. Ironically the smartphone exposes them to on-line risks. The point in time of giving a child a smartphone is a good time to begin a dialogue about trust and safety. It is a good time to introduce SafeToNet.


Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do your children show a sense of responsibility, such as letting you know when they leave the house? Do they show up when they say they will?
  • Do your children tend to lose things, such as backpacks or homework folders? If so, expect they might lose an (expensive!) phone, too.
  • Do your children need to be in touch for safety reasons?
  • Would having easy access to friends benefit them for social reasons?
  • Do you think they’ll use cell phones responsibly — for example, not texting during class or disturbing others with their phone conversations?
  • Can they adhere to limits you set for minutes talked and apps downloaded?
  • Will they use text, photo, and video functions responsibly and not to embarrass or harass others?


Anti-Bullying Alliance – parent interactive online tool – (PARENT)

NSPCC: 0808 800 5000 (PARENT)

CHILDLINE: 0800 1111 (CHILD)

Direct Gov here: (CHILD)

Bullying UK: 0808 800 2222 (PARENT & CHILD)

The Diana Award: (PARENT & CHILD)

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