As technology continues to become an integral part of our daily lives, it should come as no surprise that most children today want their own devices. However, as a parent, you have to consider family safety first and foremost. Here are some important things to consider before gifting your child their first smartphone this holiday season:
Is the child old enough or mature enough for a device?
Every child is different, and no one knows your child better than you. While they may seem too young or old enough for a smartphone, it really comes down to their maturity level. For younger kids, moms and dads simply need to use their best judgement when determining if the child should have access at all times to a smartphone.
Are you familiar with the safety risks?
A smartphone can be a very practical and useful tool for parents and kids, allowing them to stay in touch at all times. However, smartphones also provide access to the internet, which presents certain safety risks. From cyberbullying to inappropriate content, parents have many reasons to be concerned. You need to be vigilant to ensure that your child stays safe. Refer to our Infographic to learn more about the online dangers for kids. Setting up monitoring on their smartphone is a great way to keep tabs on them. Family Orbit might just be the app for it.
Are you ready to take on the responsibility?
Parents have to be prepared to monitor their children’s smartphone usage and enforce the rules. It will take some time to get the right safety features in place, and you need to be willing to check your child’s phone regularly. You’ll also be responsible if they end up downloading any apps or other content off of the web, so make sure that you adjust the settings and get parental controls in place right away.
What ground rules will you set for usage?
Before handing over any device to your kids, you need to think about what ground rules you want to set in advance. Will you allow the child to use the phone unrestricted? Do you want to implement screen-free times throughout the day or evening? Lay down these rules right away, and make sure that your children understand and agree to the terms.
How will you handle violations of the ground rules?
Once your child has their phone, you have to be prepared for the possibility that they may violate the ground rules that you have set up. By monitoring their phone, you’ll be able to make sure that they are staying safe, but what will be the consequences for rule violations? You should determine how you will handle any number of situations in advance, and make sure that your child is aware of the consequences.
Giving your child a mobile device is a great way to stay connected with them and keep tabs on them at all times, but it does come with some risks. As a parent, it is up to you to be aware of those risks and to set rules and limits. By following smartphone safety tips, you can have confidence when gifting your child a phone this holiday season.