Getting your child her first phone can be an overwhelming ordeal, and if you’re anything like I was, you’re trying to push it off for as long as you can. With the holidays coming up, your time may be running out.
We’ve spoken with technology experts before about cell phone usage for kids. However, Orange County mom of two and licensed clinical social worker Catherine Pearlman, Ph.D., has written a book, “First Phone: A Child’s Guide to Digital Responsibility, Safety, and Etiquette,” that speaks directly to kids. Pearlman says she wrote “First Phone” for kids ages 8-13, the age range when most kids are getting their first smartphone, iPad or digital device. “It teaches about boundaries, digital etiquette, safety, self-care, social media, cyberbullying, sexting, sleep, when to Google and when not to and scams/phishing and other dangers,” she says.
“I wrote this book after hearing from so many parents who are struggling with their tweens and teens and their digital access,” Pearlman says. “I believe the best way to protect children is to arm them with the information to make good choices. Parents can’t be with their kids on the bus or at friends’ houses. It’s impossible to shield kids completely. So, the next best thing is to teach them how to stay smart and safe online.”
The book is filled with fun illustrations and stories that center five young characters created from composites of stories Pearlman has heard over time. What your young reader will enjoy is that this guide doesn’t talk down to them. Rather, the narrator addresses them with the assumption that young people want to make the best choices. There’s also a great glossary of tech and urban terms, as well as common acronyms parents will find helpful. Another feature parents will love: a sample smartphone etiquette contract covering everything from privacy issues to daily technology-use behaviors.