Teens, Cell Phones, and Social Media

Are you feeling the pressure to give your child a cell phone? Many parents often wonder what is a good age to give their child a cell phone. In this article, we will talk about a couple of risks to consider before giving your child a phone.


First, we recommend giving your child a phone no younger than 13 years old. While parents are the best judge of their child’s maturity, it is important to make sure your child fully understands the dangers and responsibility of having a phone. We’ve created a free Electronic Contract to help you and your child set rules and guidelines while they’re using electronics.


Here are some risks you should consider before giving your child a phone:



Cyberbullying is becoming more of a problem each year. Before giving your child a phone, it is important to discuss cyberbullying, what it is, and the effects it can have on someone. According to ZDNet, teens who are heavy cell phone users are more likely to become cyberbullies or experience harassment themselves.



At least 1 in 4 teens receives sexually explicit texts and 1 in 7 are sending sexts, according to PSYCOM. Sexting has become more prevalent among kids and teens with cell phones. As a parent, it is important to talk about these situations. The risks of cyberbullying, embarrassment, peer pressure, and more can lead to life-changing ramifications. Our rule is no phones in the bedroom or bathroom! Inappropriate activity is less likely to happen in the family room!


Social media

When you give your child a cell phone, they have access to various social media apps including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Kik, Snapchat, and so much more. What do you, as the parent, know about these apps? It is important you know the apps your kids are using, make rules, and have open communication. Not only can cyberbullying, identity theft, sexting, and harassment happen on these apps, but also being approached by online predators.


Online predators

According to Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center, there are about 500,000 active online predators each day. Over 50% of online sexual exploitation victims are between the ages of 12 and 15, reported by the FBI. It is important to discuss the risk of online predators with your children and limiting the information they share. Make sure you and your child know who their “friends” are online!     Utilizing a parental control app, such as Bark, allows parents to get notified in real-time of safety concerns to help reduce the risks of giving your child a cell phone. However, it is more important to have an open line of communication with your child. Use our free Electronic Contract as a talking point for tough conversations!


Get Weekly Cyber Tips!

Join investigator Moe McClanahan on the first and third Tuesday of each month for live cyber tips on our Instagram!


The mission of the Safe Surfin’ Foundation is not only to protect youth from those who would do them harm, but pro-actively educating them in the safe and responsible use of today’s ever-changing technology. Together, we’re improving and saving lives. Help us continue educating kids online by donating today.