Giving a Child his/her First Smart Device: 5 Questions to Answer

The growing popularity of smart devices among children has become a rite of passage. While these nifty devices induce benefits inlearning, some first-time users tend to cross the line between being a master and a slave of their gadget. Given this inevitable situation, parents are compelled to embrace a new challenge, especially in taking precautionary measures to protect their young ones.  Preparation is the key. Before providing your kids their first gadget, here are some questions you need to answer:

smart_device_for_children1.   What rules should I impose on phone usage?

While kids are equipped with technical knowledge in using smart devices, they certainly lack maturity in dealing with phone restrictions. While there is a mobile application for everything, the objective is to find the right device with built-in security features like the security lock feature of the new iPhones. Similar to the flagship 5S, O2 notes that the 5C is an iOS 7 device that comes with the Restrictions option, a feature that locks down any risky features to make the handset child-friendly. While in school, you must encourage your child to place his device safely in the locker, and not use it during class discussions. Take note that explaining the imposed rules requires their full understanding of your reasons.

2.   How much will it cost?

Before buying a smartphone or a tablet, it’s important to note that these devices are costly and may incur extra payment once used. These include possible extra charges to your monthly bill. It’s important to discuss the cost with your children to give them a bigger picture of how much it will charge you and affect the family expense. Phone Sheriff notes that it would be better to give them a prepaid phone, which has a relatively low monthly service bill.

3.   How will these gadgets reinforce my child’s social upbringing?

Smart devices can openly access social media, so it’s imperative that parents should be watchful on how children behave on online communities. With proper guidance, Huffington Post notes that social media can be a tool to strengthen a child’s familial relationship and his connections with other people.  It also has the ability to develop a kid’s sense of social confidence, which is the preparatory stage before venturing in higher education.

4.   What’s my main motivation in giving my kid a mobile device?

Undoubtedly, safety is the utmost consideration of parents in giving their child a smart device. With the use of a GPS navigation feature, these devices can track a child’s whereabouts, especially after class. If a child has to stay late at school to practice for a class presentation, parents can instantly organize rides and adjust pick-up times through a smartphone app. The programmable and emergency options and buttons will put your mind at ease, especially when connecting to a child in case of trouble.

5.   Is my kid ready for the responsibilities?

A child’s acceptance of his first smart device means that they must learn the responsibilities that come with it.  This is a development phase they have to experience, which will also be beneficial as they enter middle school and puberty. The Online Mom said argued that it would be best to do a reward system, apart from discussing their financial responsibilities. If a child is successful in budgeting and managing his phone bill, you can expand his privileges by extending his daily screen time.

From guest writer: Reese Jones,  from being a die-hard fan of iOS and gaming consoles, Reese Jones prides herself as a TechEd advocate. She’s always in search of child-friendly tools and gadgets, which she suggests to her avid readers on TechieDoodlers. If you have any suggestions, you can add her on Google+.


Follow us on Twitter: @TouchApp_uk