A Guide To Your Child’s First Cellphone
In our increasingly digital world, it seems that everyone owns a mobile device — and children are far from an exception. In fact, most kids get a cellphone between the ages of 12 and 13. These devices can be a great way to keep in touch with your kids and keep them safe, especially when they’re at school, out with friends, or participating in after-school activities. It’s also a way to give your children some accountability and responsibility.
However, owning a mobile device comes with some risks, since it offers access to the Internet. While it’s natural to wonder if your child is ready for his or her first cellphone, there are some precautions you can take to help reduce your child’s exposure to the Internet. Read on to learn some cellphone safety tips for kids.
Practice Internet Safety
One of the first steps is to teach your child about Internet safety. While having access to the web can be practical and useful, it could also provide access to inappropriate websites and content. For this reason, it’s important to talk to your adolescent about how to stay safe online and what mobile phone rules to follow.
For example, you might encourage your child to accept calls and respond to texts only from people he or she knows. Additionally, you should be clear that your child should not share private information: Use care when sharing photos and videos, since anything that’s posted online can easily become public. You can also limit his or her level of Internet access by using parental control apps, setting age restrictions, and setting up the safe search as the default for search engines.
Start simple by showing your child the basics of using a phone, as well as the features that are available, including the lock, alarm, and passcode. Setting a passcode could help prevent bullying and breaches of private information.
Consider programming the speed dial with your contact number. Moreover, there are several cellphone models on the market that are designed just for kids. Some of them require parents to enter phone numbers so kids can send and receive calls from approved people.
Be Wary of Downloads
Your child may want to download games, background images, and fun ringtones; however, these features can come with hidden fees or bugs. For these reasons, do not allow your children to make download decisions or app purchases without your approval. You could even turn off automatic purchasing.
This can offer you greater peace of mind since you won’t have to worry about any in-app purchases racking up the phone bill. Additionally, help your child find safe apps that promote education, creativity, and healthy screen habits.
Avoid Broadcasting One’s Location
If your child uses social networking sites, advise him or her not to use the geolocation feature. When making a post, the geolocation feature allows users to “check-in” to their current locations. This feature comes with some risks for younger users who may be more easily targeted.
If you don’t want your child glued to a mobile device, consider limiting his or her usage. For instance, designate time slots for phone usage, such as after homework or before dinner. Moreover, you could set up a nightly charging station in the kitchen or living room. This may help remove the temptation to participate in late-night gaming or texting, which may improve your adolescent’s sleep, school performance, and overall well-being.
Modeling healthy technology boundaries in your life may help your child establish them, too. Prioritize real-life moments instead of capturing them on a mobile device. Set an example for your kids by not texting while driving, either.
Follow these tips to help your child be a safe and smart cellphone user.
AUTHOR BIO: Jacob Rabi is CEO of trufyx, a provider of phone and tablet repair services. He has more than two years of experience in the industry and focuses on fixing phones on the spot and providing the best service possible for clients.