Am I lucky to have my own phone?
The first phone is one of the most common questions a child can ask and can already start in primary school. And with the children, most of whom go home, boredom can feed this terrible plea even further.
Indeed, telephones have become an eternal accessory for children. According to a 2018 study by the Pew Institute, 95 percent of teenagers have a smartphone or have access to it, and 45 percent say they’re online almost all the time.
But before you jump or give in to the pressure, there’s a lot to think about.
Let’s be realistic. If you decide to give your child his first phone, it’s never about the equipment. This is the access the phone gives to the child. The phone connects children to a whole new world of media creation tools that are fun, informative and limitless. But this world is also full of risks.
The phone is undoubtedly practical and can also be a safety feature for the family. You can call or send messages to your child at any time of the day, saving the lives of working or divorced parents or guardians.
However, when you give your child his or her first phone, you also give him or her a digital portal that leads directly to potential cyberbullying, inappropriate content, encounters with strangers and a sea of conflicting ideas and values.
In the end, the best answer to the first telephone question – although opinions are endless – is a personal choice that reflects the unique dynamics of each family.
It’s rarely an easy decision. Here are some things that can help you make the best decision for your family.
10 Questions for theexam
- Does your child need a phone, or does he or she need a phone? As a parent, ask yourself the same question. Do you want your child to have a phone or do you want it to make your child’s life easier?
- Does your child’s life or family situation (e.g. two families, travel by public transport, geographical location or state of health) require a telephone?
- Every child grows up differently from his or her peers and even brothers and sisters. One way to assess maturity is by asking: Is my child responsible for this situation? Does he normally follow the rules at school and at home? Does he take care of his possessions, or does he often lose or break them?
- Listening and communicating are the basis of the responsibility. Is your child listening? Does he communicate well with you and others?
- Does your child understand and show how to treat others with respect?
- Phones differ in cost and functionality. Well, let’s see: Can our family afford a phone? Which type of phone is most suitable for my child’s adulthood level (Basic, Flip, Smart).
- As a parent, do you have the time to constantly teach your child how to use a mobile phone properly?
- As a parent, can you monitor your child’s telephone activity through parental supervision, physical monitoring, or both?
- As a parent, do you understand how to protect your child’s privacy and mental health online?
- As a parent, are you prepared to set up, communicate and follow rules for the safety of the family?
The impact that new technologies can have on family dynamics is also a topic you may want to explore. Too early digital access can accelerate a child’s independence and endanger the natural bond between parent and child. You can ask a few other parents how their relationship changed after they gave the child the phone and if they did anything else.
Parental controls on the iPhone
If you have set a time when you give your child the first phone, we recommend that parental control is only carried out after unpacking the device. You can find the parental controls in the Settings section of the Screen Time tab. Within the time limits of the screen, parents can set time limits for devices, applications and contacts and block content.
Android parental control
Enabling Parental Controls on Android is similar to iOS. Touch the playback memory on the home screen of the phone, then touch the menu (three lines, top left). Go to the Navigation menu and then to the Settings tab. Scroll down to find the parental controls and turn it on. Behind this tab, you can set screen, communication and content restrictions similar to the parental controls on the iPhone.
Getting combinations of settings in your child’s phone will take some time and will probably be a constant task (children can easily change them again). These are often attempts and errors when you learn which content is filtered by your phone’s basic filter settings. That’s why it also makes sense to add extensive monitoring software for additional levels of protection on household appliances. It is also useful to use software that blocks viruses and malicious scams that can target children.
The McAfee team continues to create specific content for Work #FromHome and School #FromHome. Our goal is to help you create the safest, most productive and fun environment for your family in this unique time. Look for these articles on the McAfee blog.
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