A kid’s first cell phone is a big deal in their world. Getting your child the perfect phone while protecting them is a big task, preparing children for phones by helping them understand and follow responsible phone ownership can be stressful on any parent.
Your kid’s first phone can be great for their social life, a way for them 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.
Tip #1- Make sure that your child is ready
Having a cell phone is quite the responsibility. Not only does your child have to be prepared to be responsible enough for a cell phone, but you as a parent also have to prepare to devote your time into finding the right phone, paying the bill (or having your child pay/earn it), keeping tabs on their phone activity, and making sure 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 phone?
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 phone?
Am I willing to discipline my child if they aren’t following the regulations I set for their phone?
|These 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 your 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 phones that have games) VTech KidiBuzz has preloaded kids learning games as well as allows kids to text and call. Of course, strict parental controls programmed on the phone allows 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.
For a kid’s first smartphone, there are plenty of options depending on what you are looking for and your budget.
Best phones for kids based on budget
If your budget is tight, an iPhone or Android phone is not the best option for you. When it comes to little kids, buying a cheap phone that functions is easy (such as the VTech KidiBuzz option mentioned earlier).
However, for an older kid, buying a smartphone on a budget can be tricky. Good Housekeeping 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.
Tip #3- Use the parental controls
Using parental controls is pretty simple when using most phone models. For example, to access the parental controls on an iPhone all you have to do is go to the phone’s settings.
It is suggested not to purchase a phone for your child that doesn’t have any sort of capacity for monitoring activity. Not only will finding a phone with parental controls keep your child safe, it will also help ease your mind so you don’t have to worry all of the time about what your child is doing.
Tip #4- Install a tracking app
If you cannot monitor your child’s activity enough through their phone alone, you may want to also download a monitor app and/or tracking app on their phone. These apps will help you keep tabs of what your child is doing on their phone and who they are talking to.
The apps available for you to download depends on what type of phone your kid has. For example, one of the most popular apps for monitoring your child’s iPhone is Parental Control App - OurPact. The app has over 35,000 ratings with a current rating of 4.6 stars on the App Store.
For Android, Find My Kids: Child Cell Phone Location Tracker has over 267,000 ratings on the Google Play store with a current rating of 4.5.
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 there is anyone who is ever shady that your child is communicating with- you need to investigate the situation further. If your child is texting or calling a number you don’t recognize- you may need to lookup the phone number using Wyty’s reverse phone lookup. If they are communicating with someone shady via social media you may want to look up the person’s name or perhaps their username.
Remember, don’t feel bad if you have to remove the app or take away their phone for their own 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 he/she is comfortable to tell 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 voice their concerns and ask you questions, it is less likely that you will run into any phone problems, such as safety concerns or broken phones.
Getting your kid’s first phone is a HUGE deal. It’s a right of passage with the current younger generation. Finding the right phone, being able to set boundaries while making their phone experience fun, monitoring your child’s phone activity and keeping communication open will create a comfortable new phone experience so that they can continue to use their phone (and you both will be grateful).
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