Every parent worries about their children and their ability to stay safe while on their phones. The best way to combat apprehension when your child asks about cell phones is to communicate the dangers and responsibilities of having a phone. Consider these things parents should know before giving their child a phone.
Talk About Safety Awareness
There are many aspects of safety you might not think to cover or can be uncomfortable to mention. Having conversations with your child about anything personal can be awkward and uncomfortable.
As long as you explain the necessity of boundaries and other means of safety, the conversations become fluid. As you discuss cell phone safety measures with your child, it’s also essential to discuss parental controls you will use to monitor their activity.
Set Rules and Expectations
Just like with safety awareness, rules and expectations are essential. When laying out your expectations, ask your kid for their opinions on different rules. This allows your child to learn how the phone rules and expectations work, especially if you draw up a detailed cell phone contract.
Your expectations and rules need to be realistic. As your kid learns to navigate the phone, teach them to manage their usage when not connected to Wi-Fi—this will help them regulate how and when they use their phone.
Remind Them of Responsibility
You could have the world’s most responsible child, but there will still come a time when they have a phone-related incident. The first thing you should do is remember not to argue or blame them. Although your kid might’ve cracked the screen or dropped the phone from a high surface, it’s important to keep everything in perspective.
Smartphones are a luxury item, which means your kid needs to be cautious and aware of how to use the phone rather than showing it off in public. It doesn’t matter if it’s the latest phone to hit the market—have your child keep it in their bag or pocket and only take it out when needed.
Channel Screen Time Limits
Children of any age are like sponges—when they see an adult constantly on their phone, the child will begin to mirror the behavior. This influences how children function in their day-to-day lives. Without limiting themselves, kids forget how to connect in the real world.
When you’re with your child, limit cell phone usage during the day and find fun activities to do with family or friends. Help your kid learn to limit themselves to about an hour per day, which will benefit their social skills and the phone’s battery life.
Parents should prepare what to say when talking about smartphones with their kids, especially when it’s their first phone. Keep these tips in mind when making the decision to buy your child their first smartphone.