When your children ask you to buy a mobile phone for them, it is necessary to sit down and have a serious conversation with them first. They need to understand that having a smartphone is not just looking good and being in with the crowd.
- There are 84% of teenagers who are cell phone owners.
- There are 22% who are only between 6 years old and 9 years old.
- More than 50% of kids from 10 to 14 years of age have their own mobile phones.
- Majority of the kids right now have their own smartphones and the numbers are steadily rising.
It is quite alarming that the kids who are certainly not mature enough to decide on their safety are already allowed to have a smartphone which is connected to every online site, among which those that poses a danger to them.
So What Are These Dangers And Risks?
Kids and teens get exposed to adult content when they are browsing online. In their innocence, they may think that it is okay to exchange these photos or videos with friends or even worse take their own photo and video and send it out. Sexting is a serious matter that has resulted to tragedies like suicide. How do you safeguard your kids from it?
Talk to your kids and let them know how you feel about sexting. Get together and look for a relaxing time where there will be no interruption. This can be done when you go out and enjoy a day with your kids. Discuss with them how everything that is posted on the internet remains there permanently and that there will be a time when something they posted will cause awkwardness for them but there no going back and erasing it.
Make your discussion as simple as you can possibly get it. Remember that too much information is also bad and may actually arouse the curiosity of your kids. Just put it in plain examples like “if it is something that you will not show your teacher, it should not be something you will send on a text message”.
If you are not satisfied that the discussion went well or if you feel that your kids are not ready for the responsibility, consider holding off on giving them their own smartphones. For communication, you can buy them a basic phone that you can call and text them on. This will be useful for an emergency since they will have a way to contact you and vice versa but they can’t get into a lot of trouble with it because there are no other features.
But if you really feel that they are ready and able to handle a smartphone, consider other options for safety such as the following.
A kid who is around 6 to 10 years old will probably not need internet and browser access. If you want them to be entertained using their mobile phone, install games on it that are educational while enjoyable at the same time. If you do give them browsing options, put in a parental control so you have a limit on what they can do online.
Discuss with your kids what time they can use their smartphones and what are the off limit times. Give them a reason on why you are imposing such limits like when it is time to sleep, they need to give it to you and can get it again in the morning. Or if it is a school night, they are not allowed to play games until they finish their homework.
Monitor Their Activities:
You are the parent and you alone are responsible for your kids if you decide to give them their own mobile phone. Parental control software will give you access to their mobile device and you will not have to worry and wonder what they are doing every day. With such monitoring apps you can see each call, text, email, chat and any other activities they have on it including browsing or application download and use. You can also restrict incoming calls if you don’t know the number or it is not in the contact list that you have approved on your child’s phone.
This post is written by Katrin Deres who works as a marketing manager. She writes about parental controls on iPhone and is focused on children security.