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Ask @DadandBuried: Should I Get My Child an iPhone?

Ask @DadandBuried: Should I Get My Child an iPhone?

Are smartphones really a necessary evil?


When it comes to raising kids, there are so many questions of what should I do? When wondering what to do, it’s usually our first instinct to ask our friends for their advice. So, we asked Mike Julianelle, the 40-something father of two behind @dadandburied, to share his honest, hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is advice to your parenting questions. This month’s question: Should I get my child an iPhone?

My son is 11 and says everyone in his class has an iPhone. I wasn’t planning on getting him one for several more years, but it sounds like he’s feeling left out and possibly bullied for not having one. Should I just buy him an iPhone or continue to resist?
 —Julianna B., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

The struggle is real. I have a 9-year-old, and while not everyone in his class has an iPhone, some kids already do. We’re holding fast to our “no smartphone yet” policy, but it gets trickier every year. When he turns 12 or 13, we’ll be hard-pressed to deny him. Kudos to you for getting this far!

At that age, there are some good reasons to consider giving in, although I’m not sure bullying is a great one. Peer pressure is rarely a good reason to do something, and we certainly don’t want to let the bullies win!



That said, smartphones are a necessary evil, and as your kid gets older, the positives—for him and you—will eventually outweigh your reservations. I’m dying to have a way to communicate with my son when he’s on the bus, or to remind him to turn in a permission slip. I also need him to have his own Spotify account; I don’t want our future robotic overlords to think I worship Imagine Dragons!

The fact is, smartphones are going to be a part of our kids’ lives for the foreseeable future. They see friends with them, and no doubt see their parents using them, which makes withholding one increasingly difficult. (If someone tried to take away my smartphone, it would get ugly fast. Just ask my wife!)

The good news is there are services that can help monitor his activity and restrict certain apps and websites. If you wish, you can basically turn the phone into—gasp!—an actual phone. (For an example, check out Gizmo.) That way you can get the benefits of easier communication with your son and he can still feel like one of the “cool kids.”

I would start signaling your capitulation but tie it into some kind of reward-based scheme. Make him earn the thing.

And then get him his own Spotify account.

 

Have a question for @dadandburied?
Send it to [email protected] with the subject “DadandBuried’s Advice.”

 

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Mike Julianelle

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Mike Julianelle is the Brooklyn dad behind the popular blog, DadandBuried.com, and its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

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