Should you give your child a smartphone for Christmas? - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Should you give your child a smartphone for Christmas?

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Christmas is in two weeks, and with new devices arriving, it is good to plan ahead on how to protect children from new devices.

The latest Kaiser Foundation Survey of Technology study states that young people in the ages of eight to 18 tend to spend more than five to seven hours a day using technology unrelated to school. This number is expected to increase.

With young children asking for cell phones, laptops and other new gadgets, Dr. Kevin Weis with Columbus Psychological Associates explained that parents need to educate themselves and their kids before buying new devices.

"I think there needs to be a great deal of education before a parent gives or takes away a device," Dr. Weis said. "It is important to explain to the kids why the parent is trying to take away their gadgets. Explain to them instead of criticizing them for constantly playing with their cell phone."

Dr. Weis said parents need to make sure the kids do not feel offended or angry when they have the talk. Instead, the parents need to explain why it is better for the kids to not play with their devices so often.

"Parents need to monitor their children's devices and limit screen time," Dr. Weis added. "Once you give the device to your children, it becomes hard for you to monitor all of their activities."

Dr. Weis gave out few tips and advice to make sure their kids learn to use the new devices safely.

For children under the age of 10, parents should put computers, tablets, cell phones in family areas, so kids know that they should use it when everyone is around. Parents should also make sure their children understand that their parents own the  cell phones and computers as well.

"As children develop independence, they tend to believe what they use are solely theirs," Dr. Weis said. "Instead, tell your children that you own the devices they play with as well, so they cooperate when you try to monitor their internet activities."

Click this link to see a list of age-appropriate devices.

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