Smartphones have become the perfect parent’s gift, but here are some things you need to learn before giving your child one.

The Holidays are here and parents are rushing to find the perfect holiday gift for their young ones. Since children today are tech-savvy, giving smartphones as gifts have become the top choice for parents. According to a survey conducted by Reviewed by Teenagers.com: 62 percent of children aged between 12-17 years old prefer an iPhone for Christmas. For most children and teens, owning a smartphone means independence and responsibility.

However, not all parents are keen to the idea of giving their children smartphones as gifts. Allowing their children to have free and unrestricted access to online information are common concerns for most parents. They feel that their kids are not yet ready for this type of responsibility.

If you are a parent who is thinking of giving a smartphone as a gift, here’s what you need to know.

Why it’s a great gift idea

We live in a digitized society and giving your child a smartphone opens a new world of possibilities. It can help them learn how to code or understand how the Internet works. A smartphone is a key to a digital gateway which also helps them develop their digital skills for the future. If they are not digital literate, your child may fall behind their peers. Your child will also become more comfortable using technology and learn about digital literacy.

Although, smartphones are helpful tools for learning and communication, there are dangers connected with owning one. Cyberbullying, accessing inappropriate content, and sexting are some of these dangers us parents should be aware of. Below are some guidelines to help promote responsible smartphone usage for your kids:

  • Create a “smartphone contract”

Before letting them use a smartphone, create a smartphone contract between you and your children. Include the rules on smartphone usage, when and where they’re allowed to use it at home, and what mobile apps are allowed on their device. Remind your child that owning a smartphone is a privilege and it can be confiscated if they violate any of the rules. The contract between you and your child will teach him or her to become responsible smartphone users.

Here’s a great sample of a good smartphone contract from Family Online Safety Institute.

smartphone-contract-cards

  • Review an apps’ privacy guidelines and rules with your child

The first thing a child would do is to install an app on his or her smartphone. We recommend that you review an apps’ privacy guidelines and rules with your child. Read the app developer’s privacy statement and look for reviews about the app online. You can also encourage your child to read it with you while discussing the dangers of using it. Log your child’s username and password after creating an account. This will help protect your child against possible online threats and harassments.

  • Discuss with your child the restrictions and limits of using their smartphones

Before gifting your child with a smartphone, we recommend that you discuss restrictions and limits when using a smartphone. Since these are included in your “smartphone contract”,    remind them about monitoring their allotted usage. Exceeding these would incur additional costs which can hurt your budget. Aside from monitoring their usage, you can also subscribe to cybersecurity services to protect your child from various online threats. MomSecure’s premium online security service is the perfect accompaniment to your child’s brand-new smartphone. Our professional cyber security agents can help you control and filter your child’s smartphone.   They can filter online content, block in-app purchases, or hide social media apps. Discussing these with your child will help them understand the value of owning a smartphone.

Every parent wants the best for their children and smartphones are important tools for training them for the future. Teach them to use it responsibly and to be good netizens. Check out the MomSecure blog for more topics about digital parenting today.

 

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