We are always responsible for the technology our children have and use. One of those devices is usually a mobile phone. A survey by Common Sense Media found that most children (aged 8-18) in the US have mobile phones.
Since children grow and develop at different rates, it is important to determine if your child needs a phone dependent on their age and maturity. Some parents believe that giving their child a phone will help them stay connected with them while others believe that it will be detrimental to them growing up properly.
If you have decided that it is time for your child to have a mobile phone, you might currently be trying to decide which device is the best option.
There are many different factors that you should consider when looking for a phone for your child. When it comes to selecting the best phone for your child, there are several things that you’ll need to take into consideration.
It’s also important to consider the type of plan you want in order to cover any potential data usage or additional service fees in case they don’t have an unlimited plan.
Which features do you and your child want to have on the phone? A music player, the ability to watch YouTube, and take calls. All great! But here are some features you should be keeping an eye out for:
Safety is often the reason that many parents want their child to have a mobile phone. iPhones have a piece of software built in that allows people to track them. Find My is a great way to have all Apple devices connected and trackable. It is also possible by adding apps to other mobile phones too.
It is also a great idea to have either an app or a built-in feature that allows you to manage their contacts, who can text them and who can call.
Parental controls are an absolute must too! A password-protected area where you can reduce their internet access and access approved websites.
Parents are faced with the difficult task of choosing a mobile plan for their children. Here are some tips that will help you make the right decision.
It is important to know that not all phone plans are created equal. Before you decide which plan is best for your child, there are many factors to consider before you decide which plan is best for your child. Some essential questions to ask yourself include:
Are they going to be using the phone only for calling? Do they need unlimited data, or will 2GB be enough? Is this a basic phone or an iPhone? Which carrier would be best for them? What about price, availability, and coverage in my area?
It can seem daunting to know where to start when figuring out how much data your child needs. It can often be better to choose a plan that requires top-ups. This means that your child can begin to understand that texts, calls, and data aren’t free and that misuse has consequences.
A low-cost mobile plan can often be the perfect choice for children receiving their first mobile phone.
As parents, we often want to give our children the best of everything: the newest console, the limited edition Jordan’s, and the best technology. Depending on the age of the child’s personality, they might need to start with cheaper options first.
Taking care of an older, less ‘flashy’ model can show that your child is ready for the responsibility of looking after newer technology.
You can strike a deal that means your child will get an upgrade on their next birthday or another gifting occasion if they take care of the phone they have/will get that isn’t as new.
Older models often have many of the safety features that you need and are perfect for your child to learn about the responsibility of mobile phone ownership.
Although you will have the parental settings and be able to lock the phone or minimise access to certain websites – rules are important.
You should discuss in-depth some of the potential dangers of using a mobile phone and how to keep themselves safe as they use the internet.
Most children will navigate their way around blocks, time locks and other things. After all, children like to push the boundaries they are given.
So consider the rules you would like to have in place for mobile phone usage.
Here are a few rules that can be helpful:
- No mobile phone usage before 7 is and after 8 pm. Depending on the type of phone, you may set these in the parental settings. Although having the rule can help.
- Only approved contacts can be added in the first few weeks of the mobile phone.
- To get a new gaming app, one must be deleted – this can help reduce the storage used.
- Although the phone should have a passcode for safety, you have the passcode and can use it whenever you like to check the apps and other phone usages. This is not so that you can ‘spy’ but so that you can keep transparency and trust.
Keep in mind that just because you haven’t dropped or lost a mobile phone doesn’t mean that your child won’t. Look for some device insurance that covers damage, theft and loss. So that you have some security if anything is to happen to their mobile phone.
Devices that come with a contract often offer insurance for a given period, and the manufacturer usually offers a warranty.
As well as having good insurance in place, you must get a case that offers drop protection and a screen protector. The screen protector will ensure that the screen of the phone doesn’t get scratched and, in some cases, can prevent the screen from getting cracked too.
Some phone cases also offer screen and body protection – and are stylish. So you can find a case that meets your child’s needs and looks cool too!
If you get your child a mobile phone, make sure that you understand all of the risks that come with it: This Year’s Most Hackable Holiday Gifts.