Phone safety is one of the biggest concerns parents have for their kids. Figuring out WHEN to give your kids a phone requires careful and candid discussions and examination. Your child's maturity, circumstances, individual needs, and history with electronics are all factors parents should consider when determining if their child needs a phone at this time. Do NOT feel pressured to give your child a phone just because he or she wants one or her or her friends are getting them. Do what is best for your child- and take confidence in knowing that YOU will know what's best for him or her because you're their dad or mom!
When you plan to give your kid a phone, be sure to talk with them about the following:
Appropriate times to use the phone.
WHY they are getting a phone.
How adults and kids use their phones differently.
Why monitoring screen time is important.
Appropriate discipline/consequences for breaking rules relating to the phone.
Be CLEAR with your kids so they know what the expectations are. Even consider writing them up or printing them out and putting them on the fridge or bathroom mirror to remind them on a daily basis as you're teaching good phone behavior.
Once your kid is ready for a phone, figuring out WHAT phone to give is another task that deserves a great deal of attention. Listen, NO ONE WILL TELL YOU that social media was the best thing to happen to kids. In fact there have been report after report indicating how social media can harm kids.
Since social media is so accessible on a phone, I love the GABB Wireless phone that only lets the user call or text (and for an upgraded fee send photos) to contacts in their phone. It helps teach kids what phones are ultimately there for: connecting people with the people they love.
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