Practical Rules for Using Children's Apps

If your child wants a phone and wants to use apps, it's important to follow these practice rules for using children's apps.
Practical Rules for Using Children's Apps
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

The phone app market continues to expand and there are thousands of children’s apps. Parents need to be aware of this and follow advice on educational and age-appropriate apps for their children. Also, they should learn about app and phone safety. To help with this, we’ll share some practical rules for using children’s apps.

It goes without saying that smartphones are only smart if they’re put to good use. These days, apps are an integral part of our daily lives. But what about our children’s lives? At what age is it okay to start letting our kids use phones? Which applications are safe for them and which are not?

The right age for children’s apps

On average, children are starting to get phones when they’re as young as 10 years old. However, there are some parents who think their children shouldn’t get social media until they’re between 11 and 14. Of course, there’s no one correct age. It all depends on your child’s maturity levels; however, we think the later the better. 

In addition, people have published guidelines for the use of phones apps and digital media for children. Since digital media can play a role in the development of children 18 months and older, they recommend emphasizing creative play for infants and toddlers. In addition, it’s important to balance screen time and other activities for older children.

Practical Rules for Using Children's Apps

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, “The most important things is that parents are the ‘media mentor’ of their children. That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn.”

Also, there are some apps on the market with a recommended age of as little as 6 months. For example, there’s a simple 14-note keyboard app called MiniPiano.

In addition, there are also thousands of apps that are made for children between 2 and 3 years. The recommended age for a particular app comes from the developer. However, you as a parent are the best judge of whether the apps are appropriate for your child. 

App security

Also, there are a number of things to keep in mind once you decide to let your kids have access to the digital world. Therefore, we’ve provided practical rules for using children’s apps that you need to consider in order to keep your child safe in this digital age:

  • Teach your child never to use their real name or to give anyone their contact information. Help them set up the security settings on their devices and social networks. In addition, make sure they know to tell you instantly if someone is bothering them or harassing them online.
  • Create an agreement with your child for using these apps. Decide on a time limit and control the applications your child uses. You may even want to consider a parental control app. This will allow you to block your child from purchasing any adult apps and set time limits for their screen time.
  • Consider creating an “app allotment” to limit the number of apps your kid can download each month.
  • Consider the health issues related to using the app. For example, your child may start to experience eyestrain, hearing loss from headphones, and lack of sleep. The last issue is caused by your child using their phone at night.
Practical Rules for Using Children's Apps

Practical rules for using children’s apps: Find the right ones

There are thousands of apps for kids, and new ones keep showing up every day. In addition, there’s options for artistic children, math experts and your little one who is learning the alphabet. Take some time to figure out which apps would work best for kids and relate to their interests.

First, you should always try an app before you let your child use it. Make sure that the tasks are challenging, but doable. Also, check that the content is engaging, but not overly stimulating, scary, violent or vulgar. In addition, you should go through the app with your child so you can help them understand the goal, strategy and rules. 

Lastly, apps are a great way for kids to learn and interact with their favorite characters and stories. However, like everything in life, apps should be used sparingly. Kids can enjoy their apps as long as their parents are following these practical rules for using children’s apps. 


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.