A simple guide to your child’s first phone
As you help your child get ready to go back to school, now is a great time to consider purchasing him or her a cell phone. Why? Maybe they want to start walking to school or take the school bus by themselves. Maybe their after-school schedules are hectic. Maybe they’re starting to hang out with friends, but you aren’t sure where they are most of the time.
Parents love their phones for a bunch of reasons, but a child’s first phone is a great tool for safety, staying in touch, and teaching responsibility, not to mention the peace of mind it offers parents.
There are some essential first steps parents should take before handing over the device to their children, all of which can prepare your kids for responsible phone ownership.
1.Give the phone a clean slate.Yourkids' first phone might be a hand-me-down instead of a brand-new one. Before your child receives a gently used phone, do a factory reset to remove all existing data (i.e. photos, emails, browser history), leaving the device with only standard pre-installed apps like email, calling and messaging.
2.Connect to Wi-Fi.The last thing you need is a sky-high phone bill because your child uses too much mobile data. Make sure your phone automatically connects to your home Wi-Fi network because the Internet doesn’t cost anything when they use it through Wi-Fi.
3.Choose the right mobile carrier.Choose a mobile service provider that allows you to set limits on how much talk, text and data your child uses every month. You’ll have better control of your family’s monthly phone bill.
4.Add important and emergency numbers. Many parents choose to get their children a cell phone to become their primary and emergency contact. Remember to save any important and backup phone numbers (i.e. parents, neighbors, grandparents, nanny) so your child can get in touch from day one.
5.Enable parental controls. Think of parental controls as training wheels so kids can learn to use the Internet responsibly. The permissions you set depends on your child’s age, level of responsibility and independence. They’ll eventually come off once you feel your child is prepared to use the Internet on their own. iOS and Android devices offer parental control systems so you can control everything ranging from screen time limits to app restrictions and more.
6.Discuss privacy and personal safety with kids. As a parent, it’s important (and never too early) to have a conversation with your kids about phone and Internet safety. Get a head start on discussing everything from being mindful of what you post to being careful of who you meet online.
7.Turn your child’s phone into a GPS Tracker. Google Maps has a cool feature that lets you share locations in real-time, so you can supervise your children remotely. Slightly older kids can hang with friends on their own while letting parents know where they are.
Andrew Moore-Crispin is the Director of Content at Ting Mobile. Ting helps people save money on their mobile phone bills by only charging for what they actually need. Ting has no contracts, no overage penalties and no hidden fees and active devices cost just $6 per month. To see how you can save go to Ting.com. For additional money-savings tips, check out our blogat www.ting.comor follow Ting onFacebook,InstagramandTwitter.