I was terrified of giving my child an iPod, but now I’m glad I did

Your child’s birthday is coming up soon, you want to give your child an iPod. They have been begging for one. You feel excited about surprising them by giving your child an iPod or iPhone, yet anxious that they are not quite old enough. What do you do?

Erin hesitantly bought her child an iPod. Being leery of tech, she never guessed how much it would benefit her 10-year-old daughter.
She shares, “My daughter who is 10 asked for an iPod for Christmas, basically for listening to music. We had a long and hard debate, and for me some serious soul searching, before we decided on the iPod Touch. We immediately disabled any internet searching capabilities or app store capabilities. The intention was basically for her to listen to music.
“What I didn’t anticipate is the ability that it has given her to connect with her grandparents who live on the other side of the world from us. She doesn’t have to wait her turn to FaceTime them from our phones or wait for her energetic siblings to quiet down.
“On many occasions, she has FaceTimed her grandparents on her own terms and had long conversations with them. It has been a completely unanticipated blessing to us. Especially since my relationship with my own grandma is so important to me, and I have felt sad that maybe my kids might not have the same opportunity to connect with their grandparents.

“I am leery of tech, but in this case, it has been a wonderful blessing to us.”

 “So, for example, my mom recently called me and said, ‘I heard there was a big storm in your neck of the woods.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but how did you hear that?’ She then told me that my daughter had FaceTimed her in the middle of the night from her iPod because she was awake with a bad dream. It was noon or so where my mom lives. My mom asked her if she had gone in to talk to us and she responded, ‘No, I didn’t want want to bother them, so I just called you.’”

Would you give your 10-year-old child an iPod?

How do you know your child is ready for a digital device?

Many guides exist helping parents answer, “What’s the best age to give a kid an iPod touch?” such as this one. The better question, to me, is “What should my child know before getting an iPod?” or “How can I know my child is prepared to own an iPod?”

What should my child know before getting an iPod?

Parents experience a range of fears from addictions to depression when handing their child an iPod. It’s easy to imagine the worst. While there is not a magic age to hand a child an iPod or iPhone, we do promote ongoing conversations with children about technology. These conversations start before they ever own their own device… and continue long after.

Before you buy your child an iPod or iPhone

  • Establish rules together with your child on appropriate uses of technology.
  • Learn the technology yourself, including various apps they will be using and protections available.
  • Keep up-to-date on the newest apps, technology advances quickly.
  • Find a kid-safe browser or internet filter.
  • Even following all these basic guidelines, the most important preparation for giving a child an iPod is conversations.

Conversations with Kids

The conversations with your child are the foundation that leads to making the decision. Help your child think about the WHY and HOW.

  • Why do they need an iPod or iPhone?
  • How will they be using the iPod or iPhone?

There needs to be a purpose behind the purchase. More than just, “every other kid has one.” The child needs to be mature enough to talk through the purposes and uses of technology, as well as respond to any negative issues that may arise.
Some parents like starting kids with a flip phone so children can practice building relationships with family and friends through technology. Others allow their child access to the parent’s phone for limited amounts of time to start learning to deliberately use technology. Every family is different, every child’s needs are different. One may be ready for a phone at age 14, while the next is not ready until age 16.

The question, “What age do I buy my child an iPod?” is much deeper than just a simple number.

What conversations could you start today with your child about owning an iPod or phone?

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