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What's the right age to buy a kid their first smartphone?

What is the right age to give your child a smartphone ? Jennifer Munoz (WGXA) 

MACON, Ga. -- Many parents in the digital age are now confronted with the question of what is the right age to get their child a smartphone.

Pediatrician Leah Helton with Fariview Park Hospital said there are several components parents have to factor in before making the big purchase.

According to a study by Influence Central, a research firm, the average age children got their first smartphone in 2016 was 10 years old.

After long waiting 10-year-old Jorden Orange got his first phone a couple of months ago. He said he uses it to watch YouTube and play video games.

His grandmother Desiree Slappy said his maturity level was a determining factor in deciding whether or not to give him a smartphone.

"He was about 9 and a half when we got him a cell phone, we put down rules for him and basically uses it for games, texting parents grandparents and things like that," said Slappy.

Helton with Fairview Park Hospital said there is not a set age a parent should give their child a smartphone.

"Each family has their own circumstance and if you do decide they're ready for a phone, it doesn't have to be a smart phone," said Helton.

Slappy said the safety of Jorden is very important, she said she monitors his use and makes sure he is using it with adult supervision.

"There are all kinds of predators, posing as children even on certain websites, like we heard of the occasion one predator posing as a little girl," Slappy said.

Helton recommends parents sit down with their children before they get a phone so they understand the dangers and responsibilities.

"It's sort of like signing a contract with your child but you can customize it to your families values," Helton said.

It's also important for parents to check in on their child's cell phone use.

"Media-free time where phones are not allowed during dinner time or after a certain time of day so you can unwind and have family time," Helton said.

Other potential dangers to look out for are cyber bullying, sleep deprivation and obesity.

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