Tips for Setting Your Child Up with Their First Smartphone
As much as we may want to delay the process as long as possible, the reality is that most of our kids will need, and indeed demand, a smartphone before long. Whether your child is in primary or secondary school, getting them set up with their first mobile device is a big moment.
You want to do what you can to ensure you limit some of the risks of owning these devices and prepare them for effectively using the product. Here are some tips to consider.
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Don’t Invest Too Much Money If Your Child Is Likely to Lose the Phone
While your child might be begging for the latest iPhone or other popular smartphone product because they want to keep up with their friends, this doesn’t mean you need to listen. If you have a child prone to forgetting things when they leave the playground or the park, etc., there’s not much point in investing too much money in a phone.
For younger children, in particular, it’s generally better to start with a cheaper phone and see how well they can look after it. You can always upgrade them at a later date if they prove to you that they can refrain from losing or breaking a phone over the coming months.
Set a Budget
It helps to set a budget for how much you feel comfortable buying a smartphone for or a monthly amount you’re okay with paying for a plan, and then share this information with them. Let them know that you will pay up to a certain amount, and then they can always provide suggestions for phones that fall within this limit. This budget helps show that we can’t always have the latest and greatest things and that it’s imperative to work to a budget, no matter our age.
Think About Required Features
As you browse potential phones for your child, keep in mind the features you do and don’t want them to have access to. Apart from being able to call and text, which are likely the main reasons why you want them to have access to a smartphone, what else do you want to make available to them?
For instance, you may be keen for them to have a phone that you can set up the internet and emails on and that stores a large quantity of music or books. However, consider whether you want them to be able to access a range of apps and social media platforms or not, as well as games and a lot of data. Often, kids only need the basics, especially when they’re in primary school.
Utilize Parental Controls and Mobile Data Limits
If it’s just as easy to buy a smartphone with many features as one without, or if you plan to hand down one of your past phones to your child, keep in mind that you don’t have to give them access to everything. In fact, most gadgets now have parental control options that you can set up to limit the activities that users complete on the device. These controls can also help keep your children safe from hackers and predators who target young ones via smartphones and other internet-connected tech tools.
In addition, you might like to set up mobile data limits on the phone. This way, you can rest easy that your child can’t do anything that causes you to get a crazy high phone bill one month because they didn’t realize how much data they were going through.
Teach Your Child to Use the Device and Do So Safely
Once you’ve chosen a phone for your child to use, spend time showing them all the basics they need to know to use the device, especially if they haven’t spent much time using yours or others in the past. They need to know how to call emergency contacts or text you to let you know they need a lift, are home safe from school, etc. You may also want to show them how to do an internet search or check emails, among other things.
Also, with cybercriminals so rife these days and continuously coming up with techniques to break into systems and networks, kids need to understand digital safety. Talk to them about what a digital footprint is, how they will create theirs, and some of the strategies that hackers and predators such as pedophiles use to glean information from kids online.
It’s essential to purchase mobile security for all smartphones in your family, including those used by your children. These products can help keep anyone with nefarious aims at bay and protect a child’s identity and other information simultaneously. Explain to your youngster why there’s a need for such security, how it works, and what they need to do to keep it working correctly, such as running updates for programs as they become available.
Getting your child their first smartphone is a big occasion and needs to be handled with care for the sake of your wallet and sanity and your child’s protection. Take your time finding the right product and teaching your child the most important factors to minimize risks.
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