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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

Kids, Phones, and Social Media

A weekly update of content from featuring parenting advice, in-depth articles, and the latest thinking on children’s mental health and learning disorders.

October 11, 2022

The question for parents of tweens used to be: When should I get my kid a phone? Now, there’s a bigger dilemma: When are they ready for social media? By the time they hit middle school — if not before — kids are lobbying to be able to interact with their friends on SnapChat, Instagram, and TikTok. They feel left out if other kids are allowed to have access to social media and they’re not. But there’s potential for serious harm if kids aren’t mature enough to make good decisions about what to share, who to share it with, and how to handle negative feedback.

To help with those decisions, we’ve checked in with experts about how to know when kids are ready for a phone, what kind of a starter phone might be appropriate for young kids, and how to provide parental controls when kids aren’t ready for unfettered access to apps and the internet. We also discuss when and how to introduce kids to social media, along with tips for monitoring social media use.

Related Resources

When Should You Get Your Kid a Phone?

It's not just a question of the right age.


When Are Kids Ready for Social Media?

And how to monitor social media use when kids are starting out.


Social Media and Self-Doubt

How parents can help kids resist the pressure created by artfully curated social media feeds.


Does Social Media Use Cause Depression?

How heavy Instagram and Facebook use may be affecting kids negatively.


10 Parenting Tips for Preteens and Tweens

How to stay close as kids move into adolescence.


Media Guidelines for Kids of All Ages

Tips for making sure your children's screen time is healthy.