A huge question amongst parents is whether or not buying technology for kids and teenagers, especially mobile phones, is a smart move.
While the thought of being able to keep in touch with your kids at anytime is very appealing to most families, your child owning a personal smartphone can open doors to many issues on the parenting front.
If buying the latest iPhone for your kid is something you have considered doing, here are some important tips to keep in mind.
1) Open Lines of Communication
Smart devices, quite literally, put the world at your fingertips. This can prove tremendously beneficial for young curious children, but unrestrained access to the ‘world wide web’ can expose younger kids and teens to a darker side of the world that they aren’t quite ready for yet. Sit down and have a chat about inappropriate versus appropriate content, and the consequences of seeking out the former.
2) Be Aware of Cyber Bullying
With over half of teens reporting being the victim of cyber bullying, the chances that your child will encounter incidences of either being victimized by, or even perpetrating bullying online are quite high. Familiarize yourself with the signs of bullying before buying your child a phone, tablet or computer.
3) Set Reasonable Limitations
Ownership of a personal phone, computer or tablet is a huge privilege, and should be treated as such. 24/7 access to messaging, applications and texting can be a recipe for disaster for kids and especially teens, who will often forego hours of sleep to chat with friends or play games. The AAP recommends no more than 2 hours a day of ‘screen time’ for kids and teens alike, so it’s important that you don’t permit excessive use. Use the application OurPact to set time limits on your childs iOS devices (iPhones, iPods, iPads). From your own personal device, you can easily schedule times that internet is available on your child or teens device, and block internet and applications at a touch. A simple, free and essential application for parents :).
What other tips do you have for parents to keep in mind when buying children and teens phones or technology as a gift? Share below!