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Do you think your kid is ready to own a smartphone? With technology playing a more important role in our lives, the issue is likely to come up at some point. This article provides useful information for parents who decide that it’s the right moment to buy their kid a smartphone for the first time.
We live in the digital era, so there will naturally come a time when kids will ask you for their own smartphone. This might happen sooner than you would think. Actually, in this day and age, it’s not uncommon for kids aged 7 and up to have their own smartphones. The main reason is obvious: convenience. You can call or text them to find out where they are and what they are doing. In case of emergency, a phone can be crucial if your child needs to reach you – or the other way around.
However, buying your child a smartphone does bring up a few issues. Here are three things you should consider before making a purchase.
If money is tight, buying your kid the latest iPhone likely isn’t an option. However, there are many cheaper smartphones that still offer lots of features for your child to enjoy.
You can choose a pre-paid plan or include the child in a family plan; these two options are the most cost-effective. Family plans are much cheaper than individual accounts and are much easier to manage.
Most smartphones depend on the internet for their functionality. Therefore, you must take some precautions before handing them their new gadget. For instance, kids email each other often on their smartphones; it might be a good idea to set up a child-friendly account for them. In fact, there are many apps that protect your child from spam and inappropriate content. Take a look here for some useful apps that can help you monitor your child’s online activity.
Consider sitting your kid down for a serious conversation about internet safety. Explain how sharing photos and private information can be dangerous, and encourage them to come to you whenever he or she has trouble online or receives unwanted messages.
Several providers offer a family locator service; this may come in handy when parents need to monitor where their child is. For instance, you can verify if your child arrived home safely after school while you’re still at work. You can also require them to check-in while attending social events or functions. Some services even allow you to receive scheduled location alerts automatically by text message or email. However pre-paid plans usually don’t include this type of service.
The decision to buy your child a smartphone is a tough call, but it’s yours to make. If you think they are responsible enough, it can be a wise move. If you still aren’t convinced, start by buying them a basic cellphone, without a camera or Internet access. They may be unhappy with the decision, but safety should always come first.