The cry for a new mobile phone starts at an increasingly early age these days. While just a few years ago you could avoid this request until secondary school, even primary school children now see their peers with a smartphone in hand! The appropriate age for a first phone is a contentious issue, and depends entirely on your comfort level with this technology and your child’s maturity levels. On the one hand, giving your child a cell phone can help keep them safe by allowing you to contact them at any time. This can be ideal as they grow old enough to start walking to and from school alone. Kids can keep their parents informed about after school activities or call for a ride home when they need it. On the other hand, smartphone technology opens up a whole can of digital worms. You’ll want to keep the following issues in mind to keep your child safe.
Owning a cell phone can teach responsibility while allowing kids to stay in better touch with their friends and family. Yet today’s models usually come fully equipped with unlimited internet access and allow kids to broadcast their photos and location to the world. Bullying, sexting, and inappropriate downloads are all linked to unrestricted mobile phone use. On a health level, studies show that teens sleep less when they have smartphones, because they find this addictive technology difficult to turn off at night.
Although there are numerous benefits of allowing your child a cell phone, these are real issues to think about. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to limit or control online access. Many major providers now offer forms of parental controls. These include content filters, which allow parents to determine what type of multimedia content their kids are allowed to download. There are also usage controls, which can control the amount of calls or text messages a child can receive. To tackle the sleeping problem, parents can even disable the phone after a certain hour each evening, or block calls and texts during school and evening hours. Phones can also be cleverly used as tracking systems for children, monitoring their locations with built-in GPS tracking systems.
Pay as you Go Phones
The sheer volume of texts and downloads that a tween is capable of producing is quite impressive. This can wreak havoc on the family phone bill! You can avoid any nasty surprises by purchasing Lebara pay as you go SIM cards or other prepaid phones. This helps your child budget their phone use, as they know that when the minutes are gone, they’re done for the month. Options like Lebara pay as you go tariffs allow you to set restrictions on the monetary amount your child spends on calls and texts each month. You can also consider adding your child’s phone to a reasonable family plan, but be sure to opt for unlimited texting!
Giving your child a cell phone can provide peace of mind, and with today’s array of parental controls and pay as you go tariffs you can monitor usage more than ever.