What Kids Can Say to Friends When They Don’t Have a Smartphone

Only Kid without a Smartphone

What Kids Can Say to Friends When They Don’t Have a Smartphone

My Kid is the ONLY one who doesn’t have a smartphone! Ugh!

Is your child the only one in his or her peer group without a smartphone? Recently, an awesome mom asked us this question on Instagram:

“Hi! Do you have a place where I can find pointers on giving my 10-year-old words to answer friends and parent’s friends about why he doesn’t have a phone? And/or any tips on how we (the parents) speak to other parents our kids are playing with about the phone situation.”

Here is a collection of the responses we received:

For your child -give them two options they can choose between. 1) You don’t owe anyone an explanation and it’s not your job to explain why your parents have this rule. Just like in any situation that makes you uncomfortable, blame your ol’ mom and/or dad. “Uhhh, my parents are just strange,” or “I’m not totally sure,” or “My parents think it’s best to wait.” 2) If they want to explain, “My parents have read the research that says they’re not good for kids. They can’t find a benefit to me having one.”

This one above was particularly popular, just based on the number of reactions we received on our Instagram Story on this panel. I’m guessing because it gave the child a choice, which implied that they had some “say” in how to answer. These next couple follow the “blame me!” approach:

My mom was always happy to play the bad guy for me when I didn’t want to explain why I didn’t want to do what the cool kids were doing. I’m happy to play that role for my kid, lol.

They can blame it on their parents and say the parent signed the pledge to Wait Until 8th grade (pledge)! Or that their parents will be getting them a Gabb phone! That’s what my kids say. Also, we have a home cell phone that my kids use if we aren’t home or if they want to text friends.

If you’re unfamiliar with Wait Until 8th, please check it out. We know Brooke and her team really well and 100% agree with this approach! A delay IS the way!

Approach to a 10-year-old: “My number one job is to keep you safe. I want you to have fun, to feel included, and to understand your peers and your desire to have a phone makes soooooo much sense. But, I can’t let you drive a car until you are 16, or own a weapon, or eat candy for your meals…I also can’t give you a phone. It can feel disappointing and seem like you are missing out, but you can do hard things. The rule isn’t changing and we are going to walk with you through it all.”

I love this one above because for a kid who needs to know the “why,” this provides a really tangible, real-life correlation.

For other parents, I would say it’s about controlling who has access to my children. The internet, unfortunately, never had guardrails put into place and technology is evolving faster than anyone can understand. I wouldn’t let my child drive a car before he/she was capable of understanding the risks associated. How is the internet any different?

A kid can say to friends: I don’t have time for a phone! Parent can say to his/her friends: He/she is WAY too busy to have a phone! (Side note: many parents think a smartphone is the only option! Relay and Gabb Wireless are two I know of but I know there are others. I would encourage parents to research other options so that they have more info to engage with other parents on the topic)

As for us at PYE, we’re big fans of a delay. Yes, because of porn and predators, but maybe just as important are the other micro-impacts that these adult-crafted digital spaces have on kids. Did you see our recent Instagram post about the god-like algorithm that runs TikTok? It quickly became our fifth most popular post of all time and we turned it into a blog post:

TikTok's Algorithm is Scary Smart

Now that you’ve read their answers above, if you have additional ideas, we’d love to hear them. Send us a note or comment below!

Oh, and we’re big fans of Gabb Wireless, the UN-smart Smartphone. It’s the prefect phone for the middle school years when their brains just aren’t ready for a smartphone. If you a discount, just use PYE at checkout! Boom!

About Protect Young Eyes

Founded in 2015, Protect Young Eyes is a leading voice showing families, schools, and churches how to create safer, “no digital secret!” spaces for young people. We do this by creating content that is reliable, practical, and easy to use. Our team of presenters performs hundreds of talks annually and 500+ mini-lessons in the Protect App help busy, amazing families be digital-ready! Available for Apple or Google.

6 thoughts on “What Kids Can Say to Friends When They Don’t Have a Smartphone”

  1. We have a Gabb phone. We had the problem that our son was able to somehow shut off the location finder, thus we were not able to locate him on a bike ride. We suspect he may be stopping at a “friends” house that we would rather him not. He is smart enough to only stay a short time. Any suggestions.

    1. Hi, Lori – the relational solution is for your son to understand the significance of what he’s doing (which I’m sure you’ve covered!), while the technical solution is where I’ll have to turn you to Gabb’s chat support to see if they have something to prevent what he’s doing.

      Take care!

  2. I can’t even imagine how to live now without a smartphone. Even a child. Considering that social networks are very important even for children, plus this is the ability to contact the child or just know where he is. But on the other hand, he wastes a lot of time on the phone playing games. Difficult question.

  3. My 3 teens all had to wait until 16 for a smartphone and 18 until social media. There is no way they could have it beforehand. Rules without relationship equal rebellion. My job is to model relationship with them and let them read the research also. One just turned 18 and the other are 17, and 16. My 2 daughters are my delight and there is no way I was going to let a sex predator get to them at 11 or 12, etc. I’m teaching on this tomorrow at my church and will push all 600 people to protectyoungeyes.com

    1. Hey, Heath! You’re awesome and thank you so much! If there are ever any specific resources, brochures, anything you need before, during, or after talks like this, please let me know!


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