AAP develops guidance on when kids are ready for cellphones

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In the digital age, many parents wonder when a child is ready for a cell phone and how much time they should be spending on screens.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and AT&T launch tools to help families decide if kids are ready for a phone and create safe and responsible use of media and technology. Dr. Jenny Radesky, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School, says, “People have used parental controls and other types of monitoring technology, but that’s not the only answer. . A lot of it will be about telling your kids, hey, show me your digital world, show me what games you play or what YouTubers you follow, and have healthy conversations.

To assess whether the family is in the “ready zone” or not, there is a questionnaire that asks things like, does your child keep track of their belongings and if you trust their judgment when you are not. not here.

Parents can also build a personalized media plan for the whole family. “What boundaries do you want to set around technology so kids can have healthy sleep, so they can have time for homework without being distracted. Whatever is important to your family. Control technology and enjoy it , without feeling controlled by it,” says Dr. Radesky.

Bennett Cox is busy with sports, so he hasn’t used his iPad much this summer. “I mostly play games because I can befriend all my friends and then we can play together.”

His mother, Lezlie, thought of gifting the 11-year-old a cell phone. “I get a little nervous with social media, cyberbullying, things like that. But he does a lot of sports and he’s with friends, and it might be easier for us to make plans if he had one,” she says.

Bennett thinks he’s responsible enough for a cell phone. “I tell my mom if I’m watching something that’s not good, because sometimes it pops up.”

Lezlie says it’s better when kids can just be kids without screens. “Kids should be playing outside, not sitting at home on iPads or, you know, doing social media stuff,” she says.

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