Nicolas Marin

Professor Green

ENGL 400





Minimum Age to have a Smartphone

Smartphones have become a necessity in today’s culture and society. It seems as if everyone operates this marvel of technology which gives the user unlimited access to everything the internet has to offer. This technology is used every day for a variety of purposes ranging from following people on social media, having political discussions, to buying items on online markets. Social media has found its way into everyone’s pocket with their integration into mobile devices. People of all ages can own a smartphone no matter what age they may be. The use of such devices and their easy access to the internet have made them a source of limitless knowledge for everyone. A problem does come with having unlimited knowledge in your pocket. Most adults are mature and experienced enough to know how to properly surf the web safely and responsibly. The same cannot be said about the youth of today. Children who have smartphones have access to everything on the internet. Children have a wealth of knowledge and social media at their fingertips and at the same time have profanity and inappropriate content. This can lead to issues with a child’s development. The spread of social media has also become an addiction within the youth, people who prefer digital communication to face to face contact. The effects of this lead to a generation that is more introverted and socially awkward than before. Social media can be addictive and problematic for children and left unresolved, the issues laid out above will only get worse. An age requirement has been placed on cigarettes because of the addictive nature of the nicotine within it, why not set an age requirement on smartphones to help with social media addiction. A minimum age should be placed by the government on smartphones to limit the issues above and let children mature before having this kind of power at their fingertips.

First thing to take into account is how social media is affecting today’s youth. Many of the issues revolving how social media and the smartphone used to access it is internet addiction. With the minds adolescents still under development, they are especially vulnerable to such addiction. There are millions of people using social media each day and the majority of internet users are young people, 75% of teens have a social media account and the most used platform is Facebook (Social Media on Teenagers). In an article by Suren Ramasubbu, he defines a term called “Facebook Depression” as an “emotional disturbance that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites” (Social Media on Teenagers). With people constantly on social media, Facebook for example, comparing themselves with others and striving to be liked online. They grow a dependence on being accepted online, this can lead them to evaluating their self-worth based on how liked or approved they are on their social media platforms. This kind of dependency on what others think can lead to an addiction revolving around creating a self-image that may not be accurate to the individual’s personality but with the fake personality created online for the sole purpose of getting the acceptance of others.

Social media addiction is a very serious issue facing the newer generation. Newport Academy states that 93% of teenagers get online every day and the ramifications of constantly using the internet could lead to an unwanted addiction. Social media addictions usually come in the form of dopamine being released when getting likes online, to people afflicted this would feel like getting high (Social Media Addiction). When young individuals compare themselves to others online they can feel inadequate alongside them. This can lead to low self-esteem and even depression (Social Media Addiction). This can hinder a person’s growth in their adolescents when they are in their crucial stages of development. Addiction starts young and if parents don’t regulate when their child gets a smartphone they could become addicted too.

The number of actual children that use smartphones and have easy access to the internet may shock you, it is noted that 56% if children between 10 and 13 already have access to a smartphone (Childhood Psychology). This number is increased in Britain where 70% of 11 and 12-year old have a smartphone (Childhood Psychology). This kind of screen time can be detrimental to the developing minds of today’s children and preteens. This breaks the social interactions needed for young children to grow into confident individuals. This leads kids to be disconnected from real life, even to the point where there is limited face to face interactions between parents and their children. Especially when face to face interactions are a primary way children learn (Childhood Psychology). Smartphones are limiting children’s ability to experience the world and are straining the bond between parent and child (Childhood Psychology). Limiting the age of having a smartphone would greatly help with childhood development and growth.

Others might believe smartphones and their capabilities help children grow and learn. Social media and smartphones do have their benefit. They can help children find information very fast and easily. An article by Wired describes a few ways why a parent should buy their child a smartphone. One reason is if they are in trouble they can call their parents or another adult to help. Parents can also use apps on smartphones to track where the child is at all times. Teachers have also integrated technology and smartphones into school work and assignments. A great example of this is Blackboard which many schools use to complete assignments (6 Reasons to get your kid a smartphone). The app for Blackboard could be useful in helping children learn to navigate these school sites. The article also states that children would take extreme care of their phones and parents could use this as a punishment tool if the child was caught doing something wrong (6 Reasons to get your kid a smartphone). The problem with the reasons laid out by this article is that most of the arguments they use to convince you are meant to help the parent rather than the development of the child. Buying a smartphone for your child shouldn’t be done to make your life easier or to be able to constantly track your child, the child’s early development should be taken into consideration before making such decisions.

There is a question to be had when thinking about the idea of an age limit for smartphone use, what is the right age for smartphone usage. In an article by National Public Radio, they describe a few examples on what age would be best and how it would affect the child. One of the examples explained in the article says that 8th grade is a preferable time for receiving a smartphone (Deciding At What Age). At this age the child is reaching more maturity than when they are in elementary school. Maturity has much to do for when deciding to let young people receive smartphones, this leads to the question of when does someone become mature. An article by the New York Times states that the best time to buy your child a smartphone is when they have started high school because at this age they would have learned the value of face to face interactions (The Right Age). The longer a parent waits to hand over a smartphone to their child the better it is for the child’s state of mind (The Right Age). This would help ensure that the child is well acquainted and know the value of face to face interaction before being able to indulge themselves into their phones. The age that I think would be the most plausible for when a person has reached enough maturity to handle the internet is around 14 years of age. This is around the time most students reach high school which is when most people begin to mature. With this kind of limit, children wouldn’t have gained the dependency of smartphones early on in elementary and middle school. This will slow down internet addiction with teens using their smartphones since they aren’t too accustomed to it.





















Chen, Brian. “What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Dec. 2017,


Jessamyn. “6 Reasons to Get Your Kid a Smartphone.” Wired, Conde Nast, 3 June 2017,

McInerny, Claire. “Deciding At What Age To Give A Kid A Smartphone.” NPR, NPR, 21 Nov. 2017,

Ramasubbu, Suren. “Influence of Social Media on Teenagers.” The Huffington Post,, 6 Sept. 2017,

“Teen Social Media Addiction – Shepherds Hill Academy.” Shepherds Hill Academy,


Williams, Amy. “How Do Smartphones Affect Childhood Psychology?” Psych Central, 17 July 2016,