Mobile Phone Safety: 7 Questions to Keep Your Child Safe

child smartphone safety

Phones are new to this era of parenting. We can’t look back at our own childhoods to decide when is the right time to give a child one. At the same time, child smartphone safety should be our top priority.

There is no minimum age limit to own a phone (unfortunately). There's also no rule to say all children should have a phone by a certain age. And is age really what we should be focusing on?

To help you make an informed decision, here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to buy your child their first phone or not.

Child smartphone safety: should I get my child a phone or not?

Do you live in an area where your child needs a phone?

A phone has many benefits when a child travels alone. Whether you live in a rural/high-crime area or do they have a long bus ride to school, a cell with a GPS location tracker gives you and your child peace of mind. You can easily check their location history if they frequently walk alone or go to new places. And you can install and activate safety apps for an added layer of security.

Does your child have responsibilities that requires them to be contactable? 

Older kids need a cell for reasons beyond socialisation. They may have a part-time job and need to be contactable by their boss or be home alone, frequently looking after younger siblings.

If you have a teen driver, they may need a device should they experience car problems or need to pick someone up. It’s important to make sure they understand that texting or talking on the mobile phone whilst driving is one of the most dangerous things they can do.

Talking to them about the risks is important, but setting a good example is even better.

Child smartphone safety

Are you aware of the health risks before you get your child a phone?


Radiation is understandably a chief concern amongst mums. While not as much as x-ray machines, a cell phone may emit radiation that may affect developing brains. So far, studies have shown no link between phone or tablet use and brain tumours in adolescents, but experts say it will take decades to get conclusive evidence on this issue.

In the meantime, current evidence suggests cell phone users are not at risk of radiofrequency energy exposure. Setting reasonable time limits is best to help keep your child safe.


Too much screen time is linked to problems that range from blurry vision to obesity. Habits picked up at a young age can persist through adulthood, so it’s important to establish good ones now.

Make sure to monitor too much time on the screen and gaming. Avoid using mobile phones before bedtime. Ensure your kids engage in active play each day away from devices. Get regular vision screenings when you visit your doctor to prevent problems.


ADHD is another issue that can be a concern with using their phone and mobile phone safety. Children with ADHD are more likely to be distracted by smartphones that, by design, reinforce addictive behaviours. These can make them ignore or avoid important but boring activities like homework.

If your child has ADHD and struggles with impulse control, they are more likely to post something on social media that they will regret later. They will also find it harder to follow schedules.

It’s best to manage impulsivity or you’ll have to be strict with limiting screen time. Good thing many iPhone and many Android models now have parental control apps to keep your child safe.

Cyber Safety for Kids

You should know by now that the Internet and social networks are not the safest places for anyone. This is especially so for younger children who may not be equipped to handle such situations, like cyberbullying and access to age-inappropriate and unsuitable content and chat rooms.

To help prevent this, you can restrict access to certain websites and apps using features like age verification on iOS devices or setting up a blocker.

You must also talk to your child about mobile phone safety during family time. While passwords and parental controls allow you to monitor the sites and apps your child uses, it's more important that they fully understand safe online behaviour and the risks of the use of mobile phones.

child being cyber bullied - Child smartphone safety

Is your child mature enough to own a phone?

Maturity level is more important than age when deciding whether to get your child a phone or not.

An 11-year-old can be more emotionally and socially mature than a 14-year-old who is impulsive and acts out on social media.

Is your child socially aware? Does he/she understand social cues, or do they need more help in this area? You know it’s inappropriate (and annoying for the receiver) to text the same message over and over again when you don’t get a response, but your child might not.

Do they follow schedules well and do homework on time despite downloaded video games/distractions? Or do they tend to stay glued to the screen? Are they tech-savvy, or do they need more instruction?  

Child smartphone safety (CONT.)

Is your child trustworthy enough to own a phone?

Trust is another important factor when preparing your child to have a phone. Is your child responsible as a rule, and can they be trusted to take care of belongings, especially a smartphone for kids that costs hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars? Do they lose things often, or are they careful most of the time? If the mobile phone does break or is lost, who is responsible for replacing/paying for it?

Even if you’re giving them a basic phone (for calls, text messages, and storing phone numbers), you should still drive home that it is an item of value and responsibility.

Does your child need a phone or want one?

You’ve probably felt left out when, as a child, you couldn’t have a video game or a trendy toy that everyone had.

The fear of missing out and peer pressure are some of the top reasons children ask their parents for a phone, even if they themselves don’t really want one or are not ready for one.

Aside from child smartphone safety, you should consider whether getting one is a real need or something else. It’s your decision whether to get them a phone based on their maturity level and responsibility, regardless of age and what their friends have.

Will it help if your child has a phone?

For many parents it is really helpful for their child to have phone access. Not only can you keep in real-time contact with them through phone and messages, but you can use the phone tracker so you know where they are at any time. This is especially helpful in the early teenage years when they are developing their social independence and staying out in the evenings. 

A mobile phone can also be a reassurance if you co-parent and your child spends time at dad’s house. It’s nice to know you can contact them, even if just to wish them goodnight, and they can contact you should something go wrong.

Conclusion to Child Smartphone Safety

So, when it comes to making sure your child’s phone is as safe as possible, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure you have designed by parents' settings on their devices so they can only access certain apps and websites.

You can also set up a safe zone where they can only use their phone in certain areas. Keep an eye on their app usage by checking the activity report and history regularly. Make sure they don't lie about their age when signing up for apps and games. Set age requirements and make sure they don't lie.

Consider getting a screen protector and a phone with an SOS emergency button for added safety. And most importantly, rely on the person signing up to be across all the small print in the contract. By following these tips, you can greatly reduce the risk of your child falling for a scam online.

Should I get my child a phone, or not? | Beanstalk Single Mum Pinterest

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Therese Danica

About the author

Therese is a regular writer for Beanstalk, transforming her experiences as a mother-of-two into helpful content for fellow mums. She spent years in the engineering field but chose to become a full-time mother. Not long after having kids, she pursued her first love – writing. With years of experience in writing blog posts, articles, and website content, Therese continues to craft narratives that speak to your heart and tickle your funny bone.

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