Kids love smartphones, and it is their most favorite form of entertainment. Nearly 90% of kids start using smartphones even before they are two years old. Buying a smartphone for your teen, high school goer, or pre-teen is not so bad after all. While it is simply impossible to prevent kids from using smartphones, it is wise to teach them how to use them responsibly. Parents should follow some safety tips to equip their kids to use smartphones cautiously.
Talk with the Kid
Your kid might demand a smartphone when they are as young as seven or as old as 16. They will have their valid reasons for asking you to buy them a personal smartphone. Talk to the children to find out why they need a separate mobile.
- It might be to play games or use certain social media apps like Twitter or Facebook with their login account.
- It might be to chat endlessly with their friends through WhatsApp or other chat platforms.
- They might need to connect to study-related groups, school and friends’ groups in social media through an app or forums.
Whatever the reason is, explain why you can’t buy them a personal mobile if the kid is too young. Most kids get their mobile by the time they reach 12, and it becomes a social status for them and an essential means to stay in touch with their friends.
If your kid feels left out because they don’t have their mobile, assure them you will buy it for them when they reach the right age. If they think they are looked down upon by their friends for using an outdated model smartphone, encourage them to work and earn a better model.
If your kid is above 14, get them a part-time job and make them save to get the model they want. If your kid is below 14, ask them to save some money from the pocket money, birthday gifts, and Christmas gifts to pay for the model.
Of course, the kids cannot pay fully for an iPhone with their savings. But they should be able to cover a certain amount the parents want them to pay. Working for something they desire and sacrificing certain pleasures to earn is a great responsibility lesson.
Take protection measures
Use the parental control technology abundantly to monitor and control how your children use the smartphone and internet. It is essential to set rules from a young age to prevent them from getting addicted to the smartphone. Here are some steps every parent should follow to ensure safe smartphone usage
- Physical Protection: Get a bulky cover for the mobile, It might not seem trendy. But kids are prone to break things, and smartphones are expensive. Sturdy covers, extra screen protection with the expensive scratch guard, and theft insurance are all a must when you buy a mobile for your minor kid.
- Adult Filters:
- If you are purchasing a smartphone for pre-teens, select models with filters to block adult content.
- If the child is accessing home wi-fi or broadband, enable the network settings for adult-free browsing talking with your network provider.
- If they use mobile data, use a service like ESET Parental control, mySpy, or TheWiSpy.
- Screen Time: iPhone iOS 12 and the other advanced models have an advanced “screen time” facility. It enables the parents to set up a specific time limit to view each app like YouTube, Gaming app, etc. Use this facility to prevent your children from spending too much time on the smartphone. The “Google Family Link” app gives similar facilities to Android handsets with operating system version 7 or more.
- Spending Limit:
- Ask the mobile phone vendor to turn off in-app purchases in handsets when you purchase them for your kids.
- Set a pin which only you know. If the kid tries to buy anything, they will need you to enter the pin.
- Talk to the mobile data provider and set a “spending cap” or limit. It will prevent the kids from browsing too much and using all their data.
Point Out Incidents of Cybercrime
- Talk with your kids about cyber safety. Discuss and debate with them regarding ransomware attacks, malware, online blackmail, browser tracking, and identity theft.
- Always encourage them to set a pin for the mobile or use face tracking. Instruct your kids not to share their passwords even with their best friends. Educate them regarding keeping their settings private instead of letting the public view them unconditionally.
- Ask their opinion on making social media sharing more protected. Point out to them how the famous YouTube and Instagram influencers never make their location or home details public.
- Discuss with them about keeping their mobile safe, updating the antivirus regularly, avoiding unwanted crack downloads for free stuff to shield from viruses entering the mobile, etc.
- Encourage your kids to share their photos only with people they know well. Teach them to use the Nuwber online tool to cross-check the identity of people they connect with online.
Stay Educated and Updated
Every teen wants to make their Instagram post go viral or become famous online. Show them productive ways to do that instead of sharing every aspect of their life. The best way to do it is to expose them to the dangers of the cyber world and ask them to come up with productive solutions themselves.
Engage with the kids regarding safe mobile phone usage and share your tips with them. Ask them to share their viewpoint and the new technologies they learned to stay safe online. Try to keep learning together every day and stay updated, creating a trustworthy bond with your children.
Every parent buying a smartphone for their kid should take extensive advantage of the technological advancements in parental control features. Make the kids work hard to earn their mobile. They will automatically keep it safe and handle the smartphone with care if they have tried hard to get it. Parents should educate the kids, learn with them and stay updated regarding the new mobile safety measures. Make the children aware of cybercrimes and take precautions to stay safe by avoiding too much sharing on social media.