The smartphone era has brought extremely tough challenges for parents who need to get phones for their children. The competition from smartphone companies makes it even harder with new gadgets and new features being rolled out at nauseating speeds. Whether it is an Android, Windows or iOS phone, there is always something newer, something trendier and something more eye catching for the little ones.
Will the parent trade his child's online safety and convenience with keeping up with the trends? This is a question that many parents face each day as they rummage through the piles of phones that can be appropriate for their children.
So what do you need to keep in mind when selecting a phone for your child?
Choose An Age-Appropriate Phone
Although today's kids are super tech-savvy, that does not guarantee the need for phone ownership. Depending on your parenting style, decide whether your son or daughter really needs to own a phone or can use those available at home. The younger the child, the greater the responsibility for you and the more the trustworthiness you will expect of your child. You could get your kid a phone at eleven, or even at fifteen, but let it be based on a tangible need like when you will need to contact them if they are going to be away from home.
Choose A Phone Based On The Need At Hand
Why are you buying the phone? Is it for your kid to keep up with the others at school or does he need to regularly communicate with you when you travel for work or business? Ultra basic phones offer less functionalities and are good if you need a phone for making calls, sending texts and playing simple games and puzzles. This could pose the danger of ridicule of your child at school or in the neighborhood but offers the greatest safety. Again, it could slow down your child's technical abilities as his age-mates will be learning a good number of smartphone controls. The best approach is to get a basic smartphone with strict parental control options which are now available on most smartphone handsets.
'Tough Phones' Are The Best
Children phones will be subject to drops, knocks and other tough treatment by your kid and his friends. You can get a phone designed to survive such treatment at an extra cost or get protective cases. These ones are cheaper and some of them are waterproof.
You Can Get A Child-Customised Phone
In the market today you can shop for a simple phone made specifically for kids. These phones have pre-set number options which offer your child the numbers they would need in case of an emergency as well as receive calls from anyone. One such phone is the Kisa phone which has a large bright display with multiple customisable options. At the back it has an SOS button and you can add your child's allergy or contact information. The phone is large enough in case it is dropped on the playground and is light enough to prevent overburdening your child.
Older Kids Can Self-Manage More
Spend some time with your child and explain why you have decided to purchase the phone for them as well as what you expect of them. For the older kids, although expected to be much familiar with the phone and how to use it, still need guidance to protect them from spammers and online predators. Let them understand the costs of possessing and using a phone so that they can also use it responsibly.
Have A Data Plan For Your Child's Internet Needs
Your child's phone will use either Wi-Fi or 3G/4G for internet access. Set up safeguards to ensure that your child will use data appropriately as well as ensure that the network they use does not allow them to access or get exposed to unsuitable content. The home Wi-Fi is most likely to have controls set up already, but the other options may not. This means the parent has to keep checking to ensure that the child is using the phone appropriately and safely.
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