Parenting Alert: Keeping Your 7-year-old Digitally Safe

The statistics related to children’s cell phone use are appalling. Nearly 53 percent of the American 7-year-olds own their personal cell phone.

What’s even more tearing is the fact that parents have to acquiesce to their kids’ varying amount of expensive requests for electronic devices. To save yourself time and parenting blues, it’s to your best interest that a cost-benefit analysis must be done before giving your child a new gaming device or a smartphone.

Preschool years are different from your child’s teen years. Teens spend most of their time in school or with friends. This transition makes it eminent for the parents to provide their kids with a smartphone or cell phone to stay connected.

Undisputedly, electronic devices are with risks, especially the ones that are internet-ready. So before you give into your child’s pleas for a smartphone or a tablet, do a pros and cons test of each electronic device.

Pros and Cons

Not all electronic devices are created equal. Each one of them have their own particular capabilities, resulting into specific risks. So if you are planning to provide your child a personal electronic device, it’s your job to know how your each choice will affect them.

Handheld gaming devices

The first on our list are the handheld gaming devices. Though, handhelds like PS Vita, Nintendo DS, and a few more has lost the steam, I still remember the capabilities of my son’s PS Vita. It used to allow my child to stream games from his PlayStation 3 right on his PS Vita. The device had to be connected to the internet for this purpose. You could also stream the internet using this device.

But there were no options for social media connections and that’s why it pretty soon got obsolete to my son.

Knowing how quickly my $300 got dumped, I decided to think twice before conforming to his next plea. However, gaming consoles that are provided to kids prepare them for varying responsibilities. Above all is learning responsibility. When kids own something, they are liable for taking care of it, and if they lose it, they will have to face the consequences. This is the only way, they start valuing their belongings.

Some parents ensure that their kids experience the pain of carelessness by telling them to cover the cost of the damage or the loss. It’s not one of the best ideas unless your child starts working part time and has started making some money. But we are only taking about 7-years-olds right?

Cell phones

Cell phone are somehow a necessity of this time and age. Though, there aren’t many cell phones around that your child would want to carry, not even your 7-year-olds, but if they agree to carry one, there isn’t anything better than that. With your child carries a cell phone, you can always stay posted about their location and know if they are doing alright. Cell phones can help your child to contact you or 911 during an emergency.

A basic cell phone that doesn’t have the ability to connect to the internet would do the job quite nicely. With a cell phone in your  7-year-olds’ hands, there is a lot more responsibility that you can put on them.

  • If a child fails to return calls or texts, parents can inflict certain consequences.
  • The child should know how to take care of their belongings.
  • They should know how to keep it safe from damage.
  • They should keep it charged and accessible.

Smartphones and iPads

And lastly, we will talk about the electronic devices that come on the top of the hierarchy. Smartphones and iPads are the latest Gen of electronics that can be used to access the internet, use social media networks or play games. It’s a device where everything is amalgamated in a single place.

If parents want to give their child a smartphone or a tablet, then they should be ready to take on the additional challenges. Unsupervised access to internet and social media could lead to tons of potential dangers.

If your child wants a smartphone, let them have it but with certain preconditions:

  • Choose a package plan and set limits on their smartphones so they won’t go beyond the amount that their plan offers.
  • Tell them that they will be responsible to cover the cost if the phones get damaged or stolen.
  • Setup a smartphone contract to let your child know how you expect them to use their new smartphone or iPad.

Giving your 7-year-old a handheld device isn’t without risks. Make sure you weight the benefits against the costs before doing so. Use a cell phone tracking app like Trackmyfone to be more certain of your 7-year-olds’ smartphone activity.

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

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