Many children across the Southland received their first cell phone this holiday season, and if your kid is one of them, you may be wondering how best to monitor their usage.
But getting your child a phone doesn’t need to be complicated and stressful, says Andrew Moore-Crispin, director of content at Ting Mobile — a mobile phone service that helps consumers make the most of their cell phone experiences.
Here, he offers some tips to help put you at ease about your kids’ smartphone use:
Give the phone a clean slate. One of Ting’s surveys shows that 61% of kids’ first phones were hand-me-downs. If you’re giving your child a used phone, remove all existing data (e.g. photos, emails, browser history), leaving only the standard pre-installed apps such as email, phone and messaging.
Connect to Wi-Fi and set mobile data limits. The last thing you want is for your kids to use a ton of mobile data, so defaulting to your home Wi-Fi prevents data shocks on your phone bill.
Add important and emergency numbers. Make sure to add important and backup phone numbers (e.g. parents, neighbors, grandparents, babysitters) so kids can get in touch from day one.
Enable parental controls. Think of parental controls as training wheels, so kids can use the internet respectfully and responsibly. iOS and Android devices offer parental control systems that parents can use to set controls, from screen-time limits to app restrictions.
Discuss privacy and personal safety with kids. It’s never too early to talk to kids about staying safe online. Having an open conversation around internet safety will help kids develop mature awareness of the internet.
Turn your child’s phone into a GPS tracker. Google Maps has a cool feature that lets you share locations in real time, so parents can supervise kids remotely. This is a great safety tip for slightly older kids who wish to go out with their friends on their own.
For more tips from Ting, visit www.ting.com.