Just how young is too young when it comes to owning and using a cell phone? Well, this is certainly something that’s been up for debate for a while now. Let’s admit it, smartphones are becoming a necessity now. The world and the society we live in are becoming increasingly digital. No, I’m not saying you should get your 5-year-old the latest iPhone. You must, however, be prepared for when the time finally comes to get your children a smartphone. That means you must also prepare your kids for what would most likely be a huge moment in their young lives.
Have Rules In Place
Whatever age you might deem acceptable, sooner or later you’ll have to get your child a phone. When that time comes, it’s crucial to set phone usage rules from the get-go. Talk to your children and let them understand that having phones is both a privilege and a responsibility. Moreover, make sure you discuss the rules with them. Let them voice out what they think about each rule. Listen & pay attention.
The rules you set shouldn’t focus on restricting your children. It should be about teaching them how to be responsible. It should also be about keeping them safe. Here are some cell phone rules that you might want to include.
- You are responsible for your cell phone.
Make your kids understand they are in charge of taking care of their phones. This includes charging it as well as keeping it safe and secure. This also covers using their phone responsibly, in general.
- Use your phone at appropriate times.
Set ground rules on when and how long they should be utilizing their phone. For instance, phones must not be used during mealtime and class. You can also include that phones can only be utilized after they’ve done their homework or finished their chores.
- Leave your phone in the designated place at night.
This rule could apply to younger kids. Set a designated place such as the charging station in the living room, in your (parents’) bedroom, or whichever you agree on. This will help ensure they won’t be tempted to stay on their phone until dawn.
- Ask permission before downloading anything.
Have them ask permission before downloading anything, especially your younger children. You can also put restrictions on the Play Store or App Store for this purpose.
- Be responsible for what you text, post, or share.
Make them understand that anything they send or post could be out there forever. Moreover, teach them to always be respectful, whether on sending text messages, posting on Facebook, or leaving a comment on Youtube.
- Always be vigilant. Never divulge any personal information.
Your kids must understand this. The digital world is vast and deep with a myriad of threats lurking around. Make it a rule that they shouldn’t post their or any of the family’s phone numbers, address or location, and any other personal information. As much as possible, teach them how to spot spams and scams. Teach them to avoid answering unknown phone calls or giving out personal details if they do answer the call.
- Your phone will have parental controls in place.
Set parental controls and discuss this with your children. If you believe it’s alright to use a child cell phone monitoring software or parental control app, then use one. Make sure, however, that your children understand that this is for their safety and security.
Observe How Much Time They Spend On Their Phone
One of the downsides of having their own phone is the possibility kids spend too much time on it. Add to that the possibility of being exposed to various threats online. This is why phone monitoring is very important. Make sure to keep track of your child’s screen time. Set a time limit and make sure the rules are followed. As much as possible, have screen time limit parental controls in place.
Utilize Built-In Phone Parental Controls
The good news is, smartphones have parental controls in place. Use these to your advantage.
- Android Parental Controls
For Android devices, parental controls can be set in the Google Play Store to restrict apps and content that your kids can access. From there, you can purchase security so you won’t be shocked when your billing statement arrives.
You can also set a data limit to ensure they don’t spend too much time online, especially on social media. If you’re letting your child use your device in the meantime, most Android phones also let you create a restricted or child mode profile.
- iPhone Parental Controls
iPhones have a great reputation when it comes to security. Fortunately, this extends to your child’s phone use security through the parental controls available. It covers content and privacy restrictions as well as screen time limits. This Includes restricting built-in apps and features use.
In the App Store, you can prevent unauthorized purchases. You can also restrict explicit content and content ratings, restrict web searches, and filter website content your children can access.
Utilize A Parental Control App
Built-in parental controls are a great way to monitor your children’s phone use and even online activities. Such measures, however, may not be enough, especially as your children get older.
If you want more thorough monitoring, especially when it comes to your children’s online engagements, you might want to consider parental control apps or phone monitoring apps. Just make sure to get reliable software like Highster Mobile. Such mobile phone monitoring will allow you to conveniently monitor a cell phone without disrupting your children’s regular phone activities. Such apps will allow you to monitor texts and phone calls, installed and running apps, social media engagements, GPS location, browser history, and more.
As everything seems to shift into the digital realm, make sure that you maintain a great connection with your children. Don’t let them, and yourself, be consumed by the internet and your mobile phones. The best way to ensure this is to have rules in place so that you and your children know where to draw the line.