When you grow up, your child will ask you one day to have his own mobile phone to chat with his friends, listen to music or take pictures. The telephone has become more than a communication tool, an object of desire. But at what age is it reasonable to allow him to own one? Which model to choose for a teenager? What limits should be set? We take stock.
In the lives of young people, cell phones and more specifically smartphones is an integral part of their everyday life. They use it at any time of the day to communicate, make calls, send messages, go on social networks, but also to get information on the Internet, check the time, the weather or check their e-mails. Phones are no longer just communication toolsso are they socialization tools not without danger. Today in France, the average age of acquiring the first mobile phone is 9 years and nine monthsaccording to a Médiamétrie survey from 2020. As a result, many parents wonder what is the reasonable age to accept that his child has his own smartphone. In a previous interview, parenting expert Anne-Catherine Baseilhac told the Journal des Femmes of her reluctance to get a laptop for the youngest. “In my opinion, there is no reason to have a phone from the start of sixth grade, let alone before. But it is also necessary to take into account the social pressure and that of other peers“. The cell phone is also, let’s face it, a good way for parents to stay in touch with their children and avoid certain worries. But you still need to find the right phone model for your child with an interesting and reasonably priced mobile subscription. To help you in this quest, here are our tips.
Which cell phone for a teenager?
Choosing a mobile phone for a child or teenager is far from easy. We know that young people tend to want at all costs the latest model that came out, the one that everyone has, but this one necessarily comes at a price.
For a child
Buying a phone is an expense that can easily exceed the budget you set for yourself as a parent. While the final decision is up to you, know that it exists for a first laptop low-cost models (less than 100 euros) that include the main functions expected of a phone for a child under 9 years old. They are less advanced than the latest generation of smartphones, but they still allow you to receive calls, send SMS and/or MMS, have an address book with contacts and sometimes even play certain games. It also prevents young toddlers from being exposed to blue light or other harmful content. In this register we find certain models such as e.g Nokia 3310 with a slightly vintage design, or the Nokia 2660 Flip.
For a teenager
For a teenager, the range of smartphone models is much wider. There are many entry-level models which have certain advanced features compared to conventional mobile phones: internet access, mobile applications, camera and video, etc. Their design is updated and their interface is easy to use for a teenager. Among the most sought after is the model Motorola e7 Plusthat Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro or even Samsung Galaxy A13.
If you are looking for a high performance model, the latest iPhone and Samsung are generally very popular among young teenagers despite their very expensive price.
Which mobile subscription should a teenager choose?
As with telephones, there are also different mobile subscriptions according to the child’s age and telephony needs. Some operators have also launched mobile subscriptions at low prices. For a young child under 10 who only uses the phone to make calls or send messages, simple prepaid cards or mobile recharges are sufficient.. In general, you will find from 5 euros in the shops of mobile operators, online at e.g. Fnac and even sometimes in the press services of tobacconists.
For a teenager who has a more continuous use of their smartphone, you can choose cheap blocked mobile subscriptions, which includes a 4G internet offer (for better browsing) with a limited amount of GB, in addition to calls and SMS/MMS. For the start of the 2022 school year, here are the offers:
- at Bouygues, the Sensation 5GB package, 12 month commitment with 5GB internet and unlimited calls and SMS in France and from Europe and the overseas departments, all for €6.99 per month;
- at SFR, the first price package for 12 months, with 100 MB of internet on the 4G+ network, 2 hours of calls and unlimited SMS/MMS in mainland France and from Europe and the overseas departments at €3 per month;
- free, the package for €2 per month, without obligation, with 50 MB internet in 4G/4G+, 2 hours of calls and unlimited SMS/MMS in France and from Europe and the overseas branches;
- at Orange, the package for €2.99 per month, the first 12 months, blocked or not, with 100 MB of mobile internet, 2 hours of calls and unlimited SMS/MMS in France and from Europe, the overseas departments, Switzerland and Andorra;
- at Sosh, the fixed price of €4.99 per month, without obligation, with 100 MB internet, 2 hours of calls and unlimited SMS/MMS in France.
Differences between a mobile phone and a smartphone
Parents may wonder, and legitimately so what is the big difference between a mobile phone and a smartphone. A mobile phone has the basic functions that we all know: calls, SMS and MMS. The smartphone is also a telephone, but in its more advanced version. It is a multifunctional smartphone. In particular, it has an AZERTY touch keyboard, it has Internet access, it has integrated electronic messages, it can read and record music, videos and photos in good quality, it is also equipped with a GPS chip. to secure the user’s location. etc.
What questions should you ask yourself before buying a phone for a teenager?
What are the reasons why your child wants a mobile phone? Do you think he needs it? Is he able to evaluate the time he spends on his phone? What plan and what type of phone would suit him? If it’s about following the trend, find out from other parents of students. Did they all really buy a new phone or is your child referring to their best friend? Conversely, is he the only one in his class who doesn’t have one? In short, if your little nerd is clamoring for a phone and you find use for it together, set some boundaries with him. For example, by allowing him to use a basic device and not the latest model, and depending on his age, by teaching him to manage his consumption…
Is my child mature enough to have his own phone?
To Richard Buferne, child psychiatrist*, “it is difficult to determine an age because it is rather the maturity of the young person and his ability to perceive the dangers that may pose mobile phone use which must be evaluated to accommodate their request“. In other words, not until your child understands “connection between the private, even the intimate, and the public that can be created through this object” to avoid any drift.
What limits should be set for the use of the telephone?
parental control software or deprivation of the phone? According to specialists, it appears that “that technical restrictions are less effective than we think and parents should probably not rely on them“advises Dr. Buferne. So the solution is to talk about borders together, upstream :”It is important to inform young people about the risks of unrestrained use of their phone and to define with them the rules that must be introduced: package type, usage time, etc.“. These limits must of course be determined together with him, according to his age and his maturity. For example, it is better to choose a blocked plane if your child is young. Later, if he knew manage your communication time, you can approve an unlimited plan. In any case, you can ask for help from the operators’ sales advisors, who are used to guiding parents and teenagers. If your teenager does not respect the set limits, do not hesitate to talk to him about it again and above all to set an example, as the specialist recommends: “it is important for adults to show themselves that they use their mobile phones in a sensible and respectful way.“Also know how to be accessible and also don’t demonize the cell phone. In fact, if your teenager is confronted with a shocking remark received on his cell phone,”he must be able to talk to one or more adults who can talk to him about it“, warns the child psychiatrist.
Vulgar messages received, threats, compromising photos and videos posted… More and more young people are confronted with content that they did not want to see with their mobile. To protect them from these excesses, it is important to make them aware and make them understand that moderate use of the mobile phone is necessary.. Thereby “it is important that the young person is aware that he can expose his private life, his intimacy by using his mobile phone, and that he must therefore be careful with the words and pictures of himself that he sends out.The maxim “Do not do to others what we do not want them to do to us” also takes on its full meaning here, as you will also have to explain to your child that he does not have (consciously or not) to convey information ( transmissions of messages, images, etc.) that harm the privacy of others.
Ban on smartphones in schools
If students are allowed to have a mobile phone, provided it is turned off and put away, its use is strictly prohibited, as recalled in the rules stated on the Ministry of Education’s website. Each school also sets out in its policy the confiscation and return of phones and the permitted “places” or “conditions”. Alternatively, in an emergency, school children can ask an adult for access to a smartphone. Restrictive and highly framed measures aimed at making the school a haven for real and not virtual sociability, without the screens altering their ability to concentrate or further promoting cyberbullying. Not to mention the greed and malicious acts like theft or extortion that a state-of-the-art smartphone can arouse.