Getting a first mobile phone is a big thing for kids. They have probably been asking for one for ages and their parents have finally given in. However, purchasing your kid’s first phone is a big responsibility. Typically, this happens in the last year of junior school as your child prepares to go to high school and becomes increasingly independent. Whilst some parents argue that kids don’t need mobile phones at all, the reality of the situation is that most of them have got them.
Starting as cheap as you can
When kids are not used to having a mobile phone, they are going to lose it on a regular basis. That is not too much of a problem if it is an old handset but is a huge problem if it is brand new and the latest model. If you have an old handset around the house somewhere, this would be ideal as their first phone. They may not like it, but it will ease the pressure and reduce your stress levels as they get used to looking after a phone. You can get SIM only deals to see you through this stage.
Their safety is what matters
Even if you give them a very basic phone, it is likely to have internet access and this is where concerns regarding internet safety arise. It may give your child an opportunity to access the web unsupervised and this may be a new experience. It is important that you talk to your child, over a period of weeks, about internet safety. Parents who were not raised in the digital age can feel out of their depth when doing this but there is plenty of help and guidance out there. Your child’s school may run courses on online safety for children and adults.
As with all purchases, it is best to shop around for the best deal. Parents often miss out here because kid’s phones are bought in a hurry. Either they have lost one or are going on a trip or an outing where they really need one. Try to avoid this by looking into it in advance so you have an idea of where you can get the best deals.
Set some limits
Things can get out of control, especially in terms of data usage. Most plans will allow you to put some form of block on the phone so that it simply stops working if your child has reached the maximum data limits or maximum calls or texts. Show your child how to turn off the mobile data when they are able to use Wi-Fi. Agree what the limits are and refuse to top them up if they are exceeded.
You can also set time limits if you feel that your child is spending too much time on their phone. You could have a rule of no access after 8.30 p.m. or no phones at the dinner table. This means that you cannot use yours during family meals either!