The world has been evolving at an exponential rate technologically. Today, children start using phones at a tender age. According to Сhildwise’s research, 53% of children acquire phones by the age of seven.
Smartphones are becoming increasingly popular amongst teens. While the internet can be utterly educative, there is a need to supervise a child using a mobile phone. However, a parent or a guardian can use the following safety tips as a guideline before getting a child their first phone:
As a parent, it is vital to understand your child’s level of responsibility. When enabling parental control on smartphones, the child’s age and accountability play a significant role. Parental control is beneficial to older children because it helps them become more responsible. The feature is accessible on both android and iOS devices. Limiting apps such as Safari, iTunes, and the like is possible on iOS handsets.
Parental control not only allows you to limit app usage but also monitor phone activities. The phone call history, including browsing history, becomes available too. Child’s safety is assured with such controls as a parent can monitor their children’s online activity.
However, it is critical to realize that parental control alone can’t keep your child safe. Consider educating your child on the proper use of phones and limited screen time. The screen time feature could help with limiting the time spent on a phone.
Screen time is probably one of the best smartphone innovations. It helps limit various features on an app and restricts communication with others. Screen time as a feature is available on newer iPhone models with an operating system above iOS 12.
On android phones, viewing screen activity, screen time limits, app approval and choice, device locking, and suggesting apps recommended by teachers can be done through Google family link.
Have a Discussion on Privacy and Individual Safety
There are many risks associated with using a smartphone for minors. Children using phones need guidance and protection from inappropriate content. Though controlling what children see online can be done through parental controls, it is impossible to prevent them from being online completely.
Besides, children can access this information through their peers. They are also ignorant of all the risks of posting online, especially pictures and videos. When it comes to making online contacts, they may find it difficult to limit what they share.
Good online habits must, therefore, be taught to every child if they’re to stay safe online. Start by advising them on what is okay to post on social media. Second, ensure that the apps they use are appropriate for their age.
Using phones can also disrupt the kid’s normal life. For instance, they must learn how to use the phone ethically in public. Keeping their phones away in crowded places, for example, can prevent possible loss through theft.
Giving a phone to a child is a huge burden that they cannot carry alone. Discussing the dangers of using the phone other than learning, recreation, and communication makes them see the bigger picture. If they are going to use a smartphone, parents can ensure their children’s phones are password-protected, especially for internet-related apps.
To enhance safety, a VPN can help them remain anonymous on public wifi. Hence, safe from hacking.
Choose a Perfect Phone and Add Important and Emergency Numbers
There are decent, secure phones that parents can buy or hand down to their kids. Today, parents want to be able to contact their children anytime, whether at school or any other place. Most parents feel that phones come in handy, especially in case of an emergency. When dropping and picking children from school, smartphones can help coordinate these activities easily. Also, a phone with a good casing and a screen protector prevents damage and malfunctions.
As a parent, ensure your child’s phone is safe. Giving them a new one could save you the hustle of factory resetting a used phone passed down from relatives or anyone else. Whether the phone is new or not, it’s critical to add emergency contacts. This could be family members and school teachers’ contacts. Because most guardians get a phone for their children as an emergency handset, adding emergency numbers is paramount.
Teaching kids how to initiate emergency calls is not to be underestimated. Speed dials come in handy whenever there’s a need to make an emergency call. Nuwber is a helpful site that can help verify the personal details of new contacts before engaging with them. Parents in the US can teach their children about leveraging this platform for verifications.
Weigh the Risks against the Benefits
Before you decide to hand down a handset to a child, give it a deep thought. First, ensure they are of age to use a phone. Moreover, the child is supposed to be responsible enough to use it in the right way.
Otherwise, adults can develop a child’s level of accountability and responsibility before giving them a phone. Children who are known to forget their items like bags at school are not likely to handle phones well. They may easily lose the mobile handset.
Finding out why a child needs the phone or what drives them is necessary before giving them one. A kid may need a smartphone because of a particular app, for being popular with his age group, or a show of status. Asking why they need a phone is, therefore, vital before making the final decision.
Parents feel their children can easily contact them in case they feel unsafe or stranded at school. A change in pick-up time from school can also be communicated comfortably to the parent. On the other hand, parents can consider the risks that the child may be exposed to because of using the phone. Probably, they may get addicted to social media or get exposed to adult content. Also, a phone may increase their risk of being targeted by thieves on the streets.
Parents should take a keen interest in ensuring that their children are safe from the risks that come with owning a phone. Mobile devices today can access anything on the internet. Managing your child’s phone should be your top priority, along with guiding them on safe phone usage.