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The Age Gauge: Digital Dilemma

Parents face tough decisions about when to let kids take new steps. Read more.

Everywhere you turn a new social media app is popping up, which makes policing them as a parent that much harder. So, how old should your child be to be on social media? The consensus of the people we spoke to on the streets of Columbus was that a child should be at least 13 years old to have a social media account.

To get a professional opinion, we then went to parent coach Terry Manrique to get her thoughts on the topic. She feels it isn’t necessarily a matter of age that should determine when to allow a child to have a social media account, but the maturity level of the child themselves.
"Are they children that can be easily manipulated? Are they children that are a little naïve? Those kinds of things - if they are, they should probably stay away from the social media because they can be easily manipulated," says Manrique.

Another big dilemma parents are facing more now than ever: how old should your child be to have a cell phone? The parents we spoke with all felt they should be at least 12 years old.

Both Manrique and Julie Handler, a social worker in Franklin County, agreed that a cell phone does provide a sense of security for parents.
Handler further articulates the benefits to your children having technology. "If you trust your child to walk to a certain place by themselves, having a cell phone might give you peace of mind”.

Our parent coach, Terry Manrique, does say that the type of phone you buy your child could send an unwanted message of entitlement.
"Should you go out there and buy them the iPhone 6 right away? Absolutely not! Because you are setting an example that we are going to get you the best right away - you need to earn that,” says Manrique.

So how old do you think your child should be to have a social media account or cell phone? Tweet @Brittany10TV with your answer.