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It can be very hard to decide what age is appropriate for your kid to have a mobile phone. This is something you should discuss with your family and before making a decision consider your child’s age, maturity and personality as well as your family circumstances. The most important thing you should think about and talk to your child is the question is your kid is responsible enough to follow your rules and the rules in school. When you do decide to buy your kid a phone, consider a few facts in order to teach them how to be responsible and safe.
Choosing the model and carrier
Today you can find a lot of phones that have built in privacy and child safety features. You should also look for the perfect carrier that will help your kid to use the phone safe and easy. Some mobile companies have special parent control features that will enable you to turn of things like internet access, downloading or texting. Also, there are a lot of phones designed especially for kids. They have a lot of helpful features like having a parent type in all the contacts so your child won’t answer unknown callers, or limited internet access and minute management, emergency buttons and more. These phones are also very easy to use and could be the best choice for your kid’s first phone.
New smartphones that are becoming more and more popular will give your kid internet access and make a lot of mobile apps available. If you are concerned about the thing they can find online, you can always turn on internet filtering or limit their web access. There are also a number of parental control tools that make it possible to keep track of your kids and protect them.
New phones all have GPS technology installed, so your kid can easily pinpoint their friends location, which means that your child location can also be pinpointed easily. Be sure to teach them to use these features only with persons they know very well and trust. GPS technology can be useful because this way you can always track your child location.
Teach them ethics
The rules and ethics you taught your kids about how to treat their friends and other people should apply when it comes to phones to. Some kids use their phones to harass other kids, so be sure your children threat others the same way that they want to be treated.
Explain what you expect
Setting up rules is very important when buying your kid a mobile phone. Be sure to tell them where and when it’s appropriate to use the phone. Before giving them the phone, be sure they know that they aren’t allowed to use the phone during family time or at night. You might want to tell them to give you their phone while they’re doing homework or when they are supposed to be sleeping.
Set an example
The only way you can be sure your kid will follow your rules is to set an example and follow the rule yourself, especially when it comes to using the phone while driving. Teach them about the dangers of distracted driving, and also about consequences of using the phone in places where it’s not allowed.
Be careful when sharing photos and videos
Most new phones have cameras with instant share or internet upload features. Teach your kids to think about their privacy and the privacy of others before uploading something. They should always get permission from the person whose video or photo they want to put online. Sometimes these captured moments can be embarrassing for others, so it’s easier to talk to your kid about this beforehand.
Sharing and networking
Sharing and networking can have both positive and negative effects. On the one hand, they can be fun, creative and have a positive effect on your child’s social life. On the other hand, if not used with care they can bring problems when it comes to safety and your child’s personal reputation. You may try various mobile apps to keep track of media files, calls, text messages (look here http://www.mspy.com/text_message_spy.html) and make sure that your kid isn’t in danger.
A lot of phones allow your kids to check and update their social network profiles anywhere they are. Talk to them to always think twice before social networking from their phones, because the filters you installed on the home computer won’t stop your children to use social networking from their phones.