Last week, my teen, a 14-year-old girl, requested me to get her an iPhone on her birthday. When I asked her why she needed a phone, she went on to give me several reasons as to why she must be having a phone. She expressively told me almost all her friends had an iPhone and that it’s time I should get her one.
Though I did realize that what she said was right and given that all her friends had a smartphone, she should have one of her own. However, the idea of my daughter using a phone terrified me. I wasn’t ready to give her a smartphone yet because I knew about all the dangers and risks that came with it.
The same night, I sat down on the bed and thought more about it. Would I really be depriving my teen daughter if I don’t buy her an iPhone? What would happen if I gave her an iPhone? How would I know what she has been up to on her iPhone? Would installing an iPhone spy app help me keep an eye on her? All these questions kept swirling in my mind all night.
Why Does A Teen Need An iPhone?
If you have been thinking about not getting your teen an iPhone, then you will not be depriving them at all. Smartphones and tablets have become status symbols for most kids and teens these days. They are also a major source of peer pressure.
Even if your teen is not asking for an iPhone yet, their friends will force them to ask for one. Due to peer pressure at school, they start asking for an iPhone from their parents. When you ask them about the reasons for having an iPhone, they will give you lots of impassioned speeches on why they need an iPhone.
However, if you are not comfortable with the idea of giving them an iPhone just yet or cannot afford to get an expensive phone for them, you should remember that there are so many kids who do not have one yet and they are doing fine without it.
Whatever digital exposure your teen is missing out on, you can provide them at home by allowing them to use the computers or even your smartphones. They can also use digital tools such as computers and tablets at school to gain some important technology skills.
One common argument that every teen uses to get an iPhone is that they need one specific iPhone app to complete their homework or assignment. While there is no doubt that some teachers do ask kids to use certain apps and programs to complete their homework and school assignments, you need to make sure that those features are available on the app’s website or not.
You should only hand your teen an iPhone if you think he/she is responsible enough to follow the cell phone rules you have made for them. If your teen learns how to use the iPhone responsibly and safely, they can get an iPhone of their own and benefit from it.
Things to Do Before Giving Your Teen An iPhone
If you give in to your teen’s persistent request and decide to hand them an iPhone, here are some things that you need to do before giving them their device. By doing these things, you can establish some control over their iPhone usage.
Talk About Appropriate Smartphone Use
Before handing your teen their first iPhone, be sure to discuss appropriate iPhone use with them. You and your teen need to be on the same page about when and how the iPhone can be used by your teen. When you are having a conversation with them, do not make it sound like a lecture because your teen won’t like it. Keep it as an open discussion so your teen also gets a chance to speak.
Learn About iPhone Features
Another thing that you need to do before giving your teen their first iPhone is that you need to learn all about the iPhone features. Make sure you know the ins and outs of the iPhone so you can also teach them to your kids. You should know how to set up parental controls on the device so you can prevent your teen from visiting inappropriate sites, using unsuitable apps, and watching adult content. You need to learn all about iPhone monitoring.
Ask Your Kids to Pay for iPhone
Since we already know that iPhones are pretty much expensive and not all parents can afford them for their kids. If your teen has a part-time job, ask them to contribute something to the cost of the iPhone as well as the data plan. If they contribute some amount to the cost of the iPhone, they will realize the worth of it and they will probably take better care of it.
Your teen won’t be deprived if they don’t get an iPhone. However, if you want to give them one, be sure to have a discussion with them about the right and safe use of iPhone.