How old is old enough for a kid to have a smartphone? Right out of the gate, I’m saying 16, and I know there’ll be some backlash from that. Some will say it all depends on the kid; others will argue there’s no right answer. Here’s why children under the age of 16 should not have a mobile phone:
Driving age: Somewhere along the line, someone said 16 is a good age to allow kids to drive. I think a car in anyone’s hands can be used as a weapon, and 16 is the earliest age that weapon should be handed over. A mobile is no different. In the wrong hands, a mobile can be deadly.
Bullying: We have seen way too many kids suffer from awful bullying as a result of other kids using mobile phones. The fact is, there is no emotion felt when bullying someone virtually—meaning the perpetrator can say anything and not see the harm he is bringing to the victim. At least at 16, kids have developed a better sense of empathy and a little more self-confidence.
Pornography: Anything and everything one can imagine in photo and video is available online—more than anyone under the age of 20 can handle and definitely more than a 15-year-old can process. There just way too much information for their young minds to consume.
Fraud: Kids say and post way too much information about their lives that can put themselves and families at risk. They give out emails, phone numbers, home addresses, financial information…you name it.
Personal security: Kids are being targeted by adults online. I recently did a segment on Fox in which a 25-year-old man posing as an 18-year old connected with 13- and 14-year old-girls. Let’s just say it didn’t end well. Oh, and that reminds me: the minimum age for social media should be 16, too.
What about keeping in touch? Get them a feature phone and no texting. Sorry. I’m a dad. You can feel bad for my kids. I didn’t have a smartphone at 15; they’ll be fine.
Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.