Bill Gates Says This Is the ‘Safest’ Age to Give a Child a Smartphone

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Bill Gates Says This Is the ‘Safest’ Age to Give a Child a Smartphone

Everywhere you look a child is holding an a smartphone or tablet, according to the tech billionaire, this is when that should happen.

Setting and maintaining reasonable boundaries around technology is now a fundamental part of parenting. Of paramount importance: when to give a kid their very own device.

This isn’t something to be taken lightly. Analytics firm Flurry says American consumers spend 5 hours a day on our mobile devices. Another study said time spent in mobile apps increased a whopping 69 percent year-over-year.

Considering how many hours a day this budding human brain will spend staring at that screen, it’s worth putting serious thought into what age is appropriate to get a mobile device.

According to the latest research, on average, a child gets his or her first smartphone at 10.3 years old. That same study shows that by age 12, a full 50 percent of children have social media accounts (primarily Facebook and Instagram).

Not so with the Gates family. In a recent interview with The Mirror, Bill Gates said he didn’t let any of his children get their own phone until they were 14 years old.

That’s right: His kids, now 20, 17, and 14, weren’t allowed to have smart phones until they were high school age.

Gates is joined in this assessment by James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that reviews products and content for families. In the Steyer household, kids have to be in high school before they can get a phone — after demonstrating they can exercise restraint and understand “the value of face-to-face communication.”

On other parents facing the same choice, Steyer says, “No two kids are the same, and there’s no magic number … A kid’s age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level.”

Read on: Bill Gates Says This Is the ‘Safest’ Age to Give a Child a Smartphone | Inc.com

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