4 steps to setting up your kids’ first smartphone

kids smartphone

You have debated with your kids about getting them a smartphone, and finally the time has come: You are getting a smartphone for your child! No doubt, it’s a very big step, after all, it’s about getting them access to almost everything that’s placed over the internet. But you need to ensure that your child’s first smartphone experience turns out to be safe, and this will require you to take a few measures. We have talked about them before, but this exclusive guide is just all you need for setting up your kid’s first smartphone.

Step one: write down a smartphone contract

We have talked about a smartphone contract in many of our previous blogs, but what is it about? A smartphone contract is writing down an informal agreement with your kid as to how they will be using their smartphone, including rules around how many hours of use will they be provided and who will they be talking to online. And obviously, the predetermined punishments/consequences for breaking the rules.

For 21st parents with tech savvy kids, this piece of paper will hold a lot of significance. And if your kids will ever tell you that they forgot the rules, you can simply take out the contract and point it to them. It’s simple to make—just take down a piece of paper and write everything about how you want them to use their smartphone. Be generous, don’t overdo, and set reasonable limits.

Step two: educate your kids about online safety

There is nothing debatable about the safety of the internet, we all know that it’s a place full of scams and dangers, especially for kids. It allows them to get exposed to inappropriate content or connect with anyone, even strangers. As a parent, you would want your kids to be safe from cyberbullies, predators, hackers , but it’s not really possible always to be standing over their shoulders 24/7. That’s why it’s necessary to talk to them about online safety, so that, whenever they go online, they wouldn’t need your intervention.

Online safety comprises of many things. First, you need to discuss dissemination of personal information. Kids can be easily baited into revealing their personal phone numbers,  photos, videos, home address, and even current location. Tell your kids: “no matter what you do, do not ever share your personal photos online”.

Then, you also need to know what kind of friends your kids are having online. Are their online friends the same people they know in real life? Or are there other people that your kids have befriended using social media networks? You need to know who your kids are friends with, it’s very necessary!

Step three: discuss the impact of social media

Twitter and Facebook are the two apps that are most widely used by kids these days, and it doesn’t always lead to something good. Teens can feel troubled and even experience negative impact on their self-esteem. They start to put others’ opinion into consideration too often, and too strongly, making them vulnerable to social anxiety, depression and even suicide.

Before you handover your kids with a smartphone, talk to them about the risks of social media and how they can have a safe user-experience with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc.

Step four: Get additional safety measures

Educating your kid is just not enough, you need to keep a continuous check on their smartphone use. Install some basic level monitoring tool onto their smartphone. Set up a Google account on their phone and link it with their apps. There are many smartphone monitoring apps, including Trackmyfone that can be used by parents to monitor their kids smartphone use, unobtrusively.

Two important things that parents always forget to do on their child’s phone:

  1. Disable in-app purchases.
  2. Turn-off location services.

These two small changes cannot only save you money, but also prevent your kids from sending their location details to others.

If you will follow all the aforementioned guidelines, your kids chances of experiencing any smartphone mishap will be reduced considerably.

Have something to share with us? Let us know in the comments.

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