Mobile Phones

Managing Your Kid’s Smartphone Use

The first thing you need to know about cell phones and children is that there are good reasons for your child to own a cell phone. But that’s only one piece of the important information you need to consider. This article will also cover the following questions:

  • Which cell phone is best for kids?
  • What is the appropriate age for cell phone ownership?
  • What are the appropriate activities for kids on cell phones?
  • What are the best security measures for kids using cell phones?
  • What should you do if the cell phone gets lost or stolen?
Kid's Smartphone Use
Image by Pexels

You may have heard different advice about kids and cell phones from a few years ago. But a lot has changed with cell phones and society over the past decade. This is a new world. And navigating it properly requires new approaches. The first thing to consider is the choice of phone:

What Is the Best Phone for Kids:

As with each of the questions we are addressing, it all depends on your definition of kids. What is right for a 17-year-old will not be right for a 7-year-old. But they both could be called kids. Even if we are talking about kids that are the same age, it still comes down to differences in maturity and temperament.

Because Jitterbug phones are made for simplicity, it may be the right choice for many children below the age of 8. The design of the phone suggests its purpose and limitations. Those limitations should be seen as features rather than bugs.

If your child is responsible enough, there are also advantages to owning a more mainstream smartphone. Group messaging is a bid deal. Access to money via digital payment systems like Apple Pay can be a life-saver. As with most things. There is no one size fits all solution.

What Is the Right Age?

There is no right age. Your 8 year old may be equivalent to someone else’s 10-year-old. If they can learn how to use the important functions of a phone at 6, you should get them a phone at 5. The point is not to wait for a specific age. It is to get some type of phone into the hands of your kid as soon as they are able to handle it. A starter phone will do. The big smartphones can come later.

What Should Kids Be Doing with Call Phones?

If the only thing your kid does with a cell phone is carry it, then their safety is increased exponentially. They need never use if for anything for it to be useful. But at minimum, they should be able to call you, and at least two other trusted people in an emergency without having to remember phone numbers.

Beyond that, they should be able to send a text, play a game to keep them busy, use the calculator, look up words, and other things that can help them with school. There is plenty of time for them to grow into other functions.

What Are the Best Security Measure Kids Should Take?

It is important that kids use a 6 digit passcode and a biometric measure for unlocking their phone. Kids are prone to losing things. And there is sensitive information on the smartphone. So much of what kids need to do for security has to do with making it difficult for other people to get into the phone.

What Should You Do When the Phone Is Lost or Stolen?

First, you should consider it a given that the phone will at some point be lost or stolen. To prepare for that, be sure Activation Lock is on. Opt for carrier insurance programs that replace lost or stolen phones. If stolen, call the police.

Don’t try to recover the phone yourself. And if the phone cannot be recovered in an appropriate amount of time, remote wipe it to protect your data. Use two-factor authentication when possible.

A cell phone is like a good coat. Of course your kid should have one. It is just a matter of getting the right one for your child. Too much phone can be a bad thing. Age is not a factor. It is more about usability and responsibility. Make sure they can do the basics, and use parental controls for the rest. Set them up for success in the beginning, and they will do just fine with a cell phone.

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