A file photo shows social media app icons on a smartphone. Picture: AP
Pretoria -  Over the past couple of decades, smartphones have gone from being luxury items to modern essentials, transforming communication and performance and myriad other functions too.

They are notebooks, calendars, alarm clocks, entertainment hubs, health trackers and more.

Technology has become a way of life, a necessity people simply can't, or won't, do without.

And as the world prepares for smart cities of the future and allows children access to technology for learning and communication purposes, the question most parents ask is “when is the right time to get your child a smartphone?”

“This is a difficult question because early childhood development differs from child to child, but what is important to note is that being digitally savvy at an early age will be advantageous in the long-run,” said Michelle Beetar, Cell C chief customer experience officer.

“The smart city future envisages that careers in the next era do not even exist at this point in time.”

According to author Emma Sadleir in her book Selfies, Sexts and Smartphones, thousands of people (adults and children) fall into the trap of chatting and giving out too much personal information in the online space.

In the book, Sadleir lists strong privacy settings and turning off location services as crucial practices.

Pretoria News