Is an 18-month-old too young to have an iPhone? This influencer thinks not

The set up screen on iPhone
The set up screen on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Actor and influencer Elfira Loy picked up an iPhone for her son.
  • Being only 18 months old, he probably won't be reading this.
  • But his mother's getting plenty of flak about it all.

Malaysian actor and social media influencer Elfira Loy is getting a ton of flak online after she bought an iPhone for her son. That might not be such a big deal, except the kid's 18 months old.

That, apparently, is enough for the mother to be pilloried online, according to a Malay Mail report.

(My son is) going to be eight months old tomorrow! I got him an iPhone so he won't try to use mummy's phone

I'd be more concerned about getting a case on that bad boy, to be honest.

Snark aside, this does raise a question that's been asked time and time again – how young is too young in terms of phones?

Remembering having two kids of that age myself and still struggling from the PTSD, I'd have bought as many iPhones as it took to get two minutes of peace and quiet. The actor says she only bought this iPhone to stop her boy from playing with hers and again, I can definitely see where she's coming from.

But now we've established that I'm a bad father I'm going to pass this over to you – is an 18-month-old too young for an iPhone in this context and if so, why?

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Ah yes when you don't want to parent and throw them in front of a screen. No wonder kids now don't know how to actually communicate and read cues from others....
  • Some people might see this as a boomer reply but I think you're right, people primarily text and many people don't like calling anymore, and I'm pretty sure it's had an impact on social skills and social anxiety. There's also a lot more people wearing glasses, since your eyes get used to looking at things close up, and the light from the screen isn't good for sleep, which is essential at a young age. But 18-month-old (or 1 year old as we do have a measurement for years) is obviously too young, there's no way a 1 year old can know how to work an iPhone properly, and even at maybe 6 years old where they could figure it mostly out, it's still too young. I didn't get a mobile phone until the latter years of high school, and that was more to be able to keep in touch with family in case of emergencies
  • I'm no boomer, just an educator who has witnessed the impact these devices are having on kids (and no I'm not the "ban all tech type" I actually like and enjoy tech, but obviously in moderation). I think technology has a place, but far too often, parents do not want to parent and they throw a device in front of their kid and want it to do their job for them. I see kids squint all of the time because they are on a device all of the time (in school and outside of school) and being actually able to communicate with them around them is not up there for most kids.
    I did not get a phone until freshman year in high school (smartphones were nowhere near as prevalent back then) and I got it because I did a lot of traveling doing wrestling camps and my parents wanted a way to stay in contact with me. I think middle school/high school is a good age for kids to have a phone and should also be taught how to use it and be a good digital citizen.