There Are Dangers In Buying Kids A Mobile Phone
We live in a digital world where kids play on their parents’ smartphones regularly. The question is when is it safe to be buying kids a mobile phone of their own?
When you hand over a phone, you’re giving your child a gateway to tons of information and media — good and bad.
Before you take the leap and look at buying your kids a mobile phone there are a few things you need to consider.
Let’s take a look at eight things we think you should know ahead of time. From determining if your child is ready for the responsibility to putting a contract in place here’s everything you need to know.
8 Things You Should Know Before Buying Kids A Mobile Phone
1. Know If Your Child Is Ready for the Responsibility
You can spend hours reading parental advice about what is the correct age for a buying kids a mobile phone. Unfortunately you may never get a clear answer.
The truth is it depends on the child and the reasons you are motivated to give him or her a phone.
For example, a mature nine-year-old who walks to a friend’s house after school because you are at work. She may need to contact you and might be able to handle the responsibility of a mobile phone.
But a five-year-old who loves to download and play games doesn’t need a phone. There are other devices that can fulfill that purpose.
2. Do You Need To Be Buying Your Kids A Mobile Phone
If you happen to have an older phone you’re not using, you can take advantage of SIM-only deals. This will allow some responsibility and save quite a bit of money in the process.
A SIM-only deal is when you don’t buy a new handset just a SIM card and use a phone you already have.
Even if the phone you want to use is locked to a particular network, you can still take advantage of the deal. All you have to do is get the phone unlocked, which isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Why use a SIM-Only deal: you can use an existing phone and you can save money and opt for a less lengthy contract— some as short as 30 days. If you’re not interested in a pay monthly contract, you can opt for pay as you go terms. These don’t require a credit check and you only pay for what you use.
Overall, a SIM-only deal can be handy because a buying your kids a mobile phone can be expensive.
Then there is the concern they may break, lose or otherwise damage it.
With a SIM-only deal, a possible loss to an old phone will hurt less than a new, expensive phone within a contract.
3. Teach Your Child What Online Behaviors are Acceptable
Just as you teach your child to behave in the real world, you’ll need to teach them how to behave in the virtual one.
You should talk about cyberbullying and why that’s not acceptable.
Also, impress upon your child that anything online remains in cyberspace forever – no matter if deleted or erased. They can be recovered.
4. Parental Control Apps Are A Must When Buying Kids A Mobile Phone
There are plenty of parental control apps available. All you have to do is decide which ones you want to utilize.
These apps can limit screen time, limit website access, track your child’s social media activity, pause the internet, alert you to possible cyberbullying and much more.
Take the time to find out your options, so you’ll know which apps you want to install.
5. Customize a Parent-Child Mobile Phone Contract
A quick online search will yield dozens of parent-child mobile phone contract templates. You can then customize them to meet you and your child’s needs regarding rules for phone use.
Once you customize and print out the template sit down with your child to go over each part.
It is important before buying kids a mobile phone there is a contract you are both in agreement. Then sign and date the contract and you give your child a copy to keep.
6. Encourage Educational Uses of the Phone
If you are buying kids a mobile phone take the time to teach your child to use their phone for education.
For example, teach him how to use maps on the phone and bookmark websites that have interesting articles for young people.
You can even offer to pay for apps that can help him with an academic skill he might be struggling with such as math.
7. Turn on Tracking if Buying Kids a Mobile Phone
Always turn on the tracking app and make it clear that your child should never turn it off for any reason.
Not only is this a safety measure for your child’s wellbeing, but it also can help you locate the phone if your child misplaces it and can’t find it.
8. Buy a Phone Case
Mobile phones are fragile, and if buying kids a mobile phone then make sure you buy a protective case.
Your child will likely buy a case based on looks but you must buy one to protect the phone if it’s dropped.
For this reason we also advise getting a screensaver installed by a professional. Otherwise, your child could end up with a phone with a cracked screen or worse.
With an educational background Alana loves the science behind child development. Her passion is the way in which children learn and grow. After an accident that ended her career as a teacher she has dedicated herself to studying child development. She has been learning styles to help influence teachers with the needs of different children. She hopes to one day have a big impact in this space and we are so lucky to have her as part of our writing team. Alana is mum to 3 young adults and loves being a big part in their life.