What age should parents give kids a smartphone?

What age should parents give kids a smartphone?

Many parents wonder at what age they should give their child a smartphone.

David Johnson with our sister station WGXA in Macon, Georgia introduces you to a parent who gave her child a cell phone at age 9.

Madison Maxwell received her first smartphone when she was just 9-years-old.

In the age of technology, she's one of a growing number of preteens are getting their first cell phone.

According to research by Influence Central, the average age children get their first smartphone is 10, down from age 12 in 2012.

But should a child that young receive a smartphone?

Cory Smith, a psychology lecturer at Middle Georgia State University says it's up to the parents. "It really is the parents that have to make that difficult decision about is the child ready. Is the child able to handle it and all the responsibility that come along with it?"

Madison’s mother, Leitra Young Maxwell, said "When we gave her her phone, we had a long talk about responsibility, how to care for your phone, and the proper uses for your phone. And what not to do."

She says there are benefits to her 10-year-old daughter having a cell phone, even at such a young age. "She so active with her school that I needed a way to track her and to reach her in case of an emergency. And also sometimes she needs to reach me," said Maxwell.

But Maxwell put several restrictions in place to make sure Madison doesn’t access inappropriate websites. "What I can do is go in and limit the sites she has access to. And then I'm also able to limit when she receives phone calls and text messages."

Cory Smith said, “You can accidentally fall into it. It's so prevalent, you don't even have to be trying and you find yourself in something that's inappropriate.”

That family says limits work for them.

It should be a conversation that happens between parents and children about what's acceptable and what's not.

You can get smartphones that limit what children can access online and what time phones can be used.