7 Things to Consider When Buying Your Child A Smartphone
We live in a world where technology has taken over. As a parent, it can feel daunting when your child starts to ask for a smartphone. Are they old enough? Do they understand how big of a responsibility it is? All of these questions can start to spiral through our minds.
Although there is no set age that a child should have a phone, there are a few things you should consider when making this decision. Today, we will be discussing seven of these considerations in more detail.
- Decide What the Phone Will Be Used For
Purchasing a smartphone for your child can certainly feel like a tough decision. However, there may be more children who own smartphones than you think. In fact, by the age of seven 53% of the children in the UK own a mobile phone which is a staggering amount. A good basis to start from when buying a phone is establishing what the phone will be used for with your child. It is vital to sit down and discuss the expectations that you have. Will the phone be used whilst they’re in school so you can contact them? Or will they be allowed to use it during social time too? It’s important to establish these boundaries early to avoid any disappointment in the future.
- Consider Screen Time and App Controls
When choosing a phone, you may want to take screen time and app controls into consideration. Choosing a phone that monitors screen time can allow you to make sure your child is not spending too much time on their device and getting distracted from important aspects like their schoolwork.
App controls hold huge importance as they allow you to monitor your child’s online activity. Are they using a social media site that they are too young for? Or are they playing dangerous online games? Luckily, parental control apps, like this one exist so you can regulate and monitor online activity to help keep your child safe.
It can be easy for most of us to get caught up in the latest tech trends and the same goes for our children. They might have seen a shiny new iPhone release, but let’s face it, they aren’t the most cost-effective smartphones on the market. It can be a smart idea to establish a budget with your child before purchasing a phone. That way, you can avoid any disappointment when it comes to the make and model of the device.
You may also want to consider how responsible your child can be. Are they clumsy? Do they lose their belongings often? If that is the case, then you may want to consider looking at more affordable options.
Upon purchasing your child’s smartphone, you may find it beneficial to choose a SIM only plan. A SIM only plan can often be more cost effective, and it can also be changed or cancelled at any given time if circumstances where to change. For instance, Lebara SIM only plans allow you to keep track of your monthly phone bill. Their plans are capped at zero, so your child cannot overspend on their monthly phone allowance, and you won’t have to face any shocking bill costs at the end of each month.
Another great feature of SIM only plans is that the data on the smartphone can be used for tethering. So, you can gain access to this data to ensure your child is using their phone for the right reasons and staying safe.
- Ensure Safety Is a Priority
Regardless of what age you decide to give your child a smartphone, one thing that should be placed of high importance is safety. You should make your child aware of the risks that come with the internet. If they have social media, do they know not to accept friend requests from strangers? Do they know how to set their social media accounts to private accounts? All of these questions are crucial and before you hand over the responsibility of a phone, you should do everything you can to ensure that your child is aware of how to keep safe.
In this helpful article you can learn some mobile phone safety tips. You may even learn something new yourself, which you can then pass onto your child. You will be able to relax more knowing that your child is clued up on internet safety and it may allow you to trust them more with the device over time.
- Teach Basic Phone Etiquette
Some may argue that there is nothing worse than a mobile phone interrupting a dinner or real-life conversation. In fact, most people can see it as rude. It is crucial that you teach your child basic phone etiquette so that they learn to use their phone respectfully around others and in moderation.
Check out some of these basic lessons of smartphone etiquette to help get you started. As a parent, it is important to lead by example. So, you should ensure that you are also putting these lessons into practice. After all, if your child observes you on your phone at dinner, they might then think that this is acceptable behaviour and replicate that.
Most of us don’t want our children to be glued to their smartphones 24/7. So, it can be a good idea to set boundaries before purchasing a phone. You may decide on a time frame with your child about how long they can use their phone for. For instance, you may decide after 8pm that they can no longer text their friends. Establishing these boundaries early can also allow your child to establish this boundary with their friends so they don’t feel expected to reply to texts late into the night.
It is also beneficial for your child to stop using their phone a few hours before bedtime so they can have time to relax and wind down which will help them gain a better night’s sleep.