There is no way we can steer clear of technology, considering it has become an important part of our lives and our children’s. School-going kids can use smartphones even at a young age. Though we try so much to protect them from mobile technology, a time comes when they need to research on the internet through smartphones. Giving our kids mobile gadgets means we are supporting their education. It also gives them the means to connect with friends. So, what should we consider before buying our kids their first smartphones?
We need to set up rules for our kids depending on our family values rather than what every parent is doing. Phone addiction is a real challenge in children. It is unhealthy to stare at a screen all day long, so they need to know when to put down the device. For instance, they should leave phones in the living room when it’s sleep time to avoid distractions in bed.
It is good to consider the type of handset a child gets for the first time. An expensive phone has a high risk of getting lost. What if it breaks? Sometimes, the best option is to hand down an old phone to save money as we introduce kids to the smartphone world. Refurbished options are good and often cheaper than brand new phones.
We should only give smartphones to kids who are ready for a new level of discipline. Children are very different, and only their parents know them better. Their age and maturity should help us determine if it is the right time to start using a phone. We should trust that they can use technology responsibly under parental supervision. Many school-going kids begin using their own phones as a pre-teenager. At this stage, they have made enough friends who are also using gadgets. They need a form of independence and an emergency device when away from us.
Different phone plans are designed to suit different circumstances. We may need to incorporate them into our smartphone plans where possible. Others may require a separate or SIM-only contract. Some options provide bundles that are designed for kids only. For instance, a 30-day bundle package without a commitment is flexible and can be changed anytime during the month. Unlimited calls, minutes, and texts are quite useful when kids want to call home. This is true for unlimited wireless plans as well such as those found at ATT Bundles, you don’t want your kid racking up the phone bills from streaming too many cartoons.
For our peace of mind, we can monitor how our kids use smartphones with parental control. Different parental control programs offer various features. These features block data from browsing anything that is not suitable for the underaged. But most kids can maneuver the tactic through public Wi-Fi. It is worth considering a dedicated parental control app to block violent and sexually explicit content. It will also block downloading of apps that are not child-friendly. Most of these parental control apps use a GPS tracker, which helps to keep our children safe.
Not all applications are suitable for kids. We need to put boundaries as far as social media goes. Children need serious dialogues beforehand on the dangers of social media and cyberbullying. They must know that not everyone is worth talking to on the internet if they don’t know them.
We are always worried about how much our kids could spend on built-in game features and other applications. We pay with our credit cards, and some apps spend money without calculating. We need to teach kids basic financial management tactics while they are still young. They must understand how costly the bills could get over time. If we must attach our payment details on their smartphones, then we have to create a strong password. Alternatively, we can allow them to use gift cards for Google Play Store or top-up iTunes.
Online safety is paramount, and schools are teaching it today. Our children must know how to stay safe while surfing on any device. Let us talk openly with our kids about whether they have encountered anything weird while using smartphones.