Mum, can I use your phone? Sound familiar? Yep, our kids are all about getting their hands on the technology whenever they can. So at what point do you get them their own phone? It comes down to a family decision of course but there are a few things to consider before you rush off to buy that sim card for your old smartphone.
First of all, how old are your kids? Are they old enough (physically and maturity-wise) to look after something expensive? And are they old enough to use it responsibly.
‘Using it Responsibly’ doesn’t mean that there won’t be any issues but it means theres a better chance of them managing their phone and their use of it in a sensible way.
A few tips to remember when giving a phone to your kids:
Check out the cost – if they go over their limit, what are the costs? Does the phone provider limit the use or just charge extra for each phone call, text and download? Know this will save a lot of headache when the phone bill comes in!
Turn off in-app purchases. Limit what your kids can download within an app so there’s no nasty surprises. If they are getting a smartphone this is particularly important! As any purchases will likely be taken off of your credit card attached to the account! I’ve written more about this here.
Set up some at home rules first. Are you ok with them using phones at dinner? In the car? In their bedrooms? It depends on their age and your family rules – but set them up first!
Whatever you decide about where and when they can use the phone, keep them out of bedrooms at night. Set up a central charging station in a public place and phones/iPads/computers get left there before bed. Read more about this here.
If you are giving them a smartphone – be sure to use a voucher (iTunes, Google Play) and NOT your credit card to set up their account. And make sure you keep the password to yourselves. Once they can pay for their own account – then they can have their own password to buy what they like, until then they should ask to download apps first.
Another option is to buy a second hand phone from ebay & paypal. Often just after a new model of a phone comes out there are loads of ‘older’ models for sale for a much cheaper price.
Finally, don’t forget to check with your school. Do they allow phones at school? Can they be used in the classroom? (all those apps can be great for learning) Or do they need to be turned off and in a bag? Will that be safe? A few things to think about!
I know a lot of parents giving their kids mobile phones – often as a safety thing. So that they can call home or we can call them if they need picking up or their ride is late. All good reasons. But we do need to think about a few things before we send them off with expensive pocket-computers!
Do your kids have a phone? Does it work for your family? Let us know your tips :0)
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