It is a big decision for parents but it can be very helpful to do it
Most children these days will want to have a phone and you may decide that you will allow them to have one as long as they act responsibly and respect the rules. One thing to bear in mind before you give your child a phone is whether you will or will not monitor your child’s on line activities or messages. If you do decide to go down the route of monitoring their phone, having a chat with your child beforehand will give them a heads up on why you will be checking their phone from time to time is helpful. A lot of people choose to not check their kiddies phone and of course it is a matter of choice on your part, there are many reasons why you should keep an eye on it without totally hijacking their mobile.
Cyber bullying- Cyber bullying is becoming a huge problem now a days and it is a new type of bullying but just as devastating, sadly victims will be hounded 24 hours a day instead of the times that they are at school or at the park where their bully attacks. Having a phone means there is every chance your child could be bullied by way of virtual harassment and abuse through messaging or social media outlets. This is exactly why you should be mindful of your child’s phone usage and keep an eye on their activity, your child may not be forthcoming with the bullying but their phone will give you some insight.
Social media- Most pre-teens or teens are on some sort of social media site, from Instagram to snap chat to Facebook they are all ways of connecting with others. However, they can also open a can of worms with sharing pictures that may be unsuitable or photos that can be used as a way of embarrassing someone. If you choose to allow your kid to use these sites you it is really beneficial to supervise their pages and remind your kid about safety with regards to sharing photos and that everything shared has a digital footprint.
Internet safety- Unless you get your child the most basic of phones it will have the internet on it and even though your kid might not be on social media they can still access all sort of things via the net. Remember that you are handing them a computer. According to Guardchild.com it is estimated that 44% of tweens have watched something online they deem to be offensive or illegal, and many 12-17 years old watch pornography online regularly. Everything and anything is readily available to view on the internet so be prepared and discuss this with your child while using parental controls if needs be.
Private messaging- You can learn a lot from your child by the messages that they send to their pals and you should tell your kiddie if you are checking their phone and remind them that if you see anything that is rude or bullying their mobile will be confiscated. A lot of children take part in group messages that can easily lead to slagging of a certain kid or even bullying so keeping an eye on these isn’t a bad idea.
Having a mobile is great for a child at an appropriate age as long as they know how to use it responsibly, if they don’t maybe they aren’t ready for one just yet.
Written by Emma. Emma is a writer with Family Friendly HQ and also writes her own parenting musings over at www.emmasmadjotters.com