Having a cell phone can help your child be more independent as well as fit in socially. And it can give you some peace of mind. But cell phones can be a mixed blessing. They’re distracting—especially for kids with learning and attention issues who may already have trouble with focus.
To be a responsible cell phone user, your child needs certain skills and abilities. The questions below can help you assess whether she’s ready. If you can’t answer “yes” to most of them, keep in mind that she doesn’t have to start out with a smartphone. Basic starter cell phones limit the calls kids can send and receive—and some don’t offer texting or Internet access.