- Parents are struggling with how to prepare for their child's first phone.
- Unfortunately, finding the perfect phone can be a hassle.
- It is important to have the right tools to help keep your child safe when using their phone.
- The article below provides useful information for any parent who needs help finding their child a phone and protecting them from the dangers of phone use.
In This Article:
- Tip #1- Make Sure Your Child Is Ready
- Tip #2- Find The Perfect Phone
- Tip #3- Use Parental Controls
- Tip #4- Install A Tracking App
- Tip #5- Know Who Your Child Is Communicating With
- Tip #6- Keep Communication Open
- Wrapping It Up
Your kid’s first phone can be great for their social life, a way to learn responsibility, and an excellent tool for safety. However, it is important for you as a parent to know what to do when you get your kid a phone.
A kid’s first cell phone is a big deal in their world. Getting your child the perfect phone while protecting them can be daunting. Preparing children for phones by helping them understand and follow responsible phone ownership can be stressful for any parent, but it doesn't have to be. The below tips will help you understand how to buy a smartphone for your child (as well as learn some smartphone safety).
Tip #1- Make Sure Your Child Is Ready
Having a cell phone is quite the responsibility. It's important that your child is prepared and responsible enough for a smartphone. However, you as a parent will have to find the right phone, pay the phone bill (or have your child pay/earn it), keep tabs on their phone activity, and ensure that your child doesn’t develop a phone addiction.
Before you make your decision, here are a few questions that you need to ask yourself:
How much can I afford to spend on a smartphone?
How much can I afford for a monthly phone bill?
Do I have the time to monitor my child’s phone activity?
Is my child ready for a smartphone?
Am I willing to discipline my child if they aren’t following the phone regulations?
|Quick Tip: The above questions will help you determine if your child is ready for their starter phone- and this is the first step.
Tip #2- Find the Perfect Phone
If you still feel that now is the best time to buy your child a phone, the next step is to find the right phone based on your child’s age and budget. There are plenty of options for a kid’s first phone. Let’s take a look into this further.
Best phones for kids based on age-
If your child is still little, you may want to consider a phone alternative such as a Walkie Talkie that is also a GPS tracker.
If your child is ready for a phone but not a smartphone (and you are OK with phone games), VTech KidiBuzz has preloaded kids learning fun and allows kids to text and call. Of course, strict parental controls programmed on the phone will enable the parent to decide who their child calls and texts.
The phone also can take pictures and is very hard to break as it comes in a hard case and shatter-proof screen.
There are plenty of smartphone options for children, depending on budget and requirements. However, once a child is older, more common smartphone brands like the iPhone may be a more appropriate option.
Best phones for kids based on cost-
If your budget is tight, an iPhone or Android phone is not the best option. However, not every kid (this is more common with older children/teens ) will want a cheap phone with limited functions.
However, buying a smartphone on a budget can be tricky for an older kid. THE VERGE recently put out an article listing the best budget smartphones. We suggest giving it a read before shelling out hundreds, if not over a thousand dollars, on a new smartphone. On the other hand, you may not have to buy your child an expensive smartphone if you look at more affordable brands.
Tip #3- Use Parental Controls
Using parental controls is pretty simple for most phone models. For example, to access the parental controls on an iPhone, simply go to the phone’s settings.
It is suggested not to purchase a phone for your child who doesn’t have any capacity to monitor activity. Finding a phone with parental controls keeps your child safe, but it will also help ease your mind, so you don’t have to worry about what your kid is doing.
Tip #4- Install A Tracking App
If you cannot monitor your child’s activity through their phone settings alone, you may also want to download a monitor app and tracking app on their phone. These apps will help you keep tabs on what your child is doing on their phone and who they are talking to.
The apps are available for you to download depending on your kid's type of phone. For example, one of the most popular apps for monitoring your child’s iPhone is Parental child's App - OurPact. The app has over 36,000 ratings.
For Android, Find My Kids: Child Cell Phone Location Tracker has almost 700,000 ratings on the Google Play store.
Tip #5- Know Who Your Child Is Communicating with
Installing a phone monitoring app and using the parental controls on your child’s phone is a great way to know who your child is talking to. You should also communicate openly with your child about their phone activity and allow them to speak freely about their feelings and concerns.
If your child is communicating with someone you are concerned about, you need to investigate the situation further. For example, if your child is texting or calling a number you don’t recognize- you may need to look up the phone number using Wyty’s reverse phone lookup. Likewise, if they communicate with someone shady via social media, you may want to look up the person’s name or perhaps their username.
Don’t feel bad if you have to remove the app or take away their phone for their safety. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Tip #6- Keep Communication Open
Communication is always key when you are interacting with your child. No matter how old your kid is, making sure that they are It'sortable telling you just about anything will help ensure that they can tell you if a situation on their phone becomes uncomfortable.
If your child feels safe enough to share their concerns and ask you questions, you will less likely run into phone problems, such as safety concerns or broken phones.
Wrapping It up
Getting your kid’s first phone is a HUGE deal. It’s a right of passage for the current younger generation. However, finding the right phone can be hard. However, suppose you can set boundaries while making their phone experience fun, monitor your child’s phone activity, and keep communication open. In that case, you can create a comfortable new phone experience for your child.
Allowing your child to have a phone (if your family is ready) will create a new space for the two of you to communicate. Furthermore, you will be able to check-in and monitor your child’s activity in a way that you couldn’t before when they didn’t have a phone.