When should a teenager get a smartphone?

From what age does a cell phone make sense?

There is hardly a question that is discussed more than when children should get a cell phone or smartphone. No wonder, because the interest of many adolescents often arises relatively early - especially when mom or dad spend time on their cell phones themselves. But what are they Signs for this, that children are fit for their own cell phone?

In many cases, having your own cell phone is a good thing for children: if, for example, school finishes early or maybe even an accident has happened, parents are happy when their offspring can reach them. However, this is offset by concerns as to whether the devices might not have a harmful effect on their children after all.

Even if many parents would like a specific age specification - unfortunately no general statement can be made about when a child should get a cell phone. It depends above all on the child's level of development and the situation whether the purchase makes sense or not.

Important factors: is the child fit for a cell phone?

There are some key points that should be considered more than age when deciding for or against a cell phone.

Basically, the more responsible the child, the more functions a cell phone can bring. Above all, parents should think about whether their son or daughter is willing to use the Internet responsibly: For example, does the child know how to protect their personal data and when it shouldn't be passed on at all? Even if smartphones now offer the option of security settings - it is still best to use them carefully and with foresight.

Another indication that the child is ready for their own cell phone is that they use their pocket money carefully. Children should be included in the cost of the mobile phone and the tariff from the outset so that they can get a feel for the monthly expenses. Parents can influence the use of mobile phones with some tariffs, but from a certain point in time their son or daughter should be able to use their tariff to make calls and surf the web without parental restrictions - it is especially important that children can handle money well.

When it comes to making a purchase for younger children, it is important to know what the external circumstances are. If both parents work, a cell phone or smartphone can be a good thing if, for example, the child has to be picked up more often at different times.

Rough guidelines for purchasing a cell phone

As already mentioned, there are no fixed guidelines as to when a cell phone or smartphone should be purchased for children.

However, there are some rough guidelines that parents may find helpful in case of doubt:

  • Children under the age of 18 should not use any screen media at all, including tablets and televisions.
  • Up to their 6th birthday, the little ones should be accompanied by an adult when using the media.
  • In elementary school, an "emergency cell phone" can be useful, on which the child can be reached and with which they can only dial stored numbers. A cheap button phone with limited functions can fit just as well.
  • From around the age of 10, children have an increased interest in smartphones. The transition to secondary school is also often seen as an occasion to buy the child a smartphone because they have to travel further to school. From around this age, parents can choose the first device with their offspring and explore its use together.
  • For teenagers, a smartphone is part of almost every situation in life.


If the child gets along with the functions of a device, handles pocket money responsibly, can actively protect their data and speaks to their parents if they have problems, nothing stands in the way of their own smartphone. For elementary school children, on the other hand, a button cell phone with limited functionality is ideal. If in doubt, the guidelines above can be used for guidance.

As soon as the cell phone is an integral part of children's everyday life, parents should of course keep a watchful eye on its use. If the little ones sit in front of the display for too long, this can have negative effects on behavior and development, for example in the form of hyperactivity, concentration disorders or myopia. Parents should therefore ensure that their children always spend enough time outdoors to compensate.