Cell Phones & Parenting: A Simple Guide For Their First Smartphone

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There’s no denying that a lot has changed since you and your partner were kids. Case in point: not only do cellphones exist, but they’re now so widely used that even young children are texting. Determining when to give our kids their very own smartphone isn’t an easy decision for us dinosaurs who grew up without them. Your children will argue it’s akin to social suicide to go without, but you’re concerned about their safety. Smartphones aren’t the only things to emerge from the technology boom. Issues regarding screen time, cyberbullying, and even sexting are new worries for parents.  

It’s tempting to deny our children access to these devices as a way to protect them, but admit it: deep down inside, you know this isn’t a viable solution. Eventually they’ll start using their friends’ phones to go online. Recent studies show their cohorts are outfitted with some kind of smartphone as early as the first grade. An increasing number of school boards are integrating other personal devices (like iPads and tablets) into their classrooms as educational tools.

This won’t be changing any time soon. The Internet is an amazing resource, so the number of young people with mobile devices will only increase in the future. By denying them access now, it’s simply delaying the inevitable to a time when you have no control over their consumption. When exposure is unavoidable, the next best thing concerned parents can do is regulate the way their children use these devices. The following tips are a simple way to assuage your fears about their time online, so their newly acquired cell is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Set Boundaries

You pay the bills, so you can lay down the law as to when, where, and how often they get to pull out their cell. Sit down with your kids and establish healthy phone habits. Make sure they know to put it away during dinner or before they go to bed. You’ll also want to discuss appropriate online behavior regarding Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. There are a variety of online materials that lead you through discussions about cyberbullying and online sexuality for those who feel uncomfortable broaching these subjects on their own. Regardless of your own self-consciousness, your children need to hear these things so they’re better equipped for a lifetime spent online.

Use Parental Controls

Depending on your provider, you can engage controls that limits their data. Trust us, this can come in handy if your child doesn’t understand that certain apps and constant streaming costs money. You don’t want to be like Kanye and find out your kid made a few in-app purchases. These controls can also disable certain apps you don’t want them to use, or they can lock apps after a certain amount of time.

Protect the Phone

Childhood may be different in 2017, but your kid is still a kid, and sometimes that means they get dirty. If their iPhone 7 or Pixel XL is joining them while they explore the neighborhood or make use of the playground, you’re going to want to outfit them in an iPhone 7 skin or Pixel XL skin. A vinyl skin from manufacturers like dbrand encases these fragile devices in a protective layer that prevents cosmetic damages, spills, and grime build-up from ruining their cell. Take the time to explore the skins available at with your kids. There you’ll find a build-a-skin feature that lets your children’s creative side blossom as they design a customized skin.

Digital literacy is a must in the 21st century. Giving your children phones is just one way to ensure they’re ready for life in the digital age. Just make sure you’re both on the same page about how they should use it. A recent report suggests children with clear rules about using their phones actually follow them when away from their parents’ watchful eye, so it’s an important discussion to have! Exposure may be unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. Whether it’s a Galaxy S7, iPhone 7, or a Pixel XL, whatever cellphone they have in their hands is a great security tool that allows you to keep in touch with them at all hours of day, wherever they may go.