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The Great Smartphone Debate: Is Your Child Ready for a Mobile?

Source: Bessie Hassan | Money Expert at finder.com.au
Archived 19 Sep 2017 - Posted: 25 Jul 2017
It seems as though kids are getting their first mobile phones earlier and earlier these days, some even during preschool *. But no two kids are the same and although some youngsters may own their own smartphone before the age of 10, others aren’t getting theirs till they’re well into their teens.

In fact, according to new research by finder.com.au, on average, Aussies think that 14 is the right age for kids to receive their first mobile phone.

Regardless of what age you think is right, here are some tips for when you do decide to take the plunge.

Set up Some Ground Rules

It’s important to outline the rules and conditions that come with owning a smartphone. You should also include implications for if the rules are broken. Kids and young teens are shown to have poor impulse control, but guidelines can help to keep them on the right track.

Consider a Safety App

Depending on your child’s age, you may want to look into some apps that can help keep your child safe. Some apps will enable you to block certain websites and social media platforms, while others such as Screen Time Parental Control allow you to control the times of the day that your child can access apps and websites, as well as show you how long they’re spending online so that you can monitor their screen time.

Mobile Parental Guardian allows you to see your child’s every move on their smartphone and many other apps let you locate your kids, friends and family members.

Start with a Second-hand Phone

Now we all know that kids can be rough with their stuff, so before you fork out for that brand new iPhone, decide whether it’s worth it. If you have an old phone lying around, why not set it up for your child? That way you can both recycle your old phone and minimise the damage to your hip pocket.

Unlocking the Internet

You’ll also have to decide whether your kid’s phone will be solely for calls and texts, or whether you want to unlock access to the Internet . Deciding to opt out of Internet services from the start might be a feasible option for those worried about exposing their child to online bullies and inappropriate content, photos and videos.

You can then decide when the appropriate time is to give them access. This will of course be different for every parent, but it’s important to know how your child is interacting online. You should try your best to engage with your child and have a serious talk about online privacy, cyberbullying and what you expect from them.

Prepaid vs Plan

This is another decision you should think carefully about. If you decide to go on a plan, there’s the potential that your child could run up a hefty bill and you’ll find yourself spending hundreds of dollars on hours of YouTube watching! For this reason, one of the best options is to go prepaid. This means there’s a cap on how much they can call, text and use the Internet and you can avoid any potential bill shock.

Whatever payment method you decide to go with, make sure to weigh up your options, shop around and compare to save money and score the best deal for your situation.

Ultimately, the age that you do decide to get your child their first smartphone is completely up to you. Only you can know when your child is ready to take the plunge into the wonderful world of smartphone technology.

 
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