Should I buy my 10-year-old a smartphone?

Keep it simple and ensure they understand the cost

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From the September/October 2016 issue of the magazine.

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smartphone

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Tough question. Some parents won’t want to go there just yet. Others will see texting and Snapchat as part of their kids’ social lives. Whatever you do, keep it simple. You can get a smartphone for a young teen and keep it on your own plan. In high school, give them one of mom or dad’s used iPhones. “But they have to understand the monthly cost,” says Steve Schaffer, father of three young teens and founder of the coupon website Offers.com. To help with that, you can adjust their allowance to cover the cell phone bill and have them hand over the money every month. Nothing makes it sink in faster than having to hand over cold hard cash every month. Alternatively, you can show them the monthly cell phone bill when it arrives in your inbox and encourage them to find a cheaper plan. Have them do the comparison shopping and if they find a cheaper deal, let them keep the extra dollars in their allowance as reward.

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