This article was published by Gabb Wireless and is shared here with permission.
Buying your child a kids phone for the first time is a daunting task. This is a large stepping-stone in their development, and you want to approach it thoughtfully.
As a parent, you’re in charge of helping your kids practice safe phone habits from the get-go. There are a number of things parents should discuss with their children before granting them their own cell phone.
Phone use is a privilege, after all, with rules they should follow. The following tips will help parents prepare kids for their new responsibility before they get their first phone.
1. Lead by Example
Before talking to your kids about healthy phone habits, you should practice those habits yourself. Your speech on good behavior will fall on deaf ears if your kids know you don’t practice what you preach.
Analyze your own cell phone behavior so you’re well qualified to talk about proper phone use. Start by noting the actions and attributes you don’t want to see your kids develop with their phone use. Then, pay attention to your own habits and see how you measure up.
Set goals that help you improve those habits to become a good example for your kids. Overall usage will probably be your biggest concern. You don’t want your children to become so sucked into their phones that they miss out on other opportunities.
While a Gabb kids phone will certainly help with that, it’s something to watch for in yourself so you can model healthy phone use for your child.
2. Ask Questions
Before you go monologuing on proper phone habits, start by asking your child some questions. This gives them an opportunity to express their own concerns about getting a new phone and draw their own boundaries with you.
A discussion will be much more effective than a speech. When your child asks you a question, be sure to listen intently to them. Listening is one of the most important skills a parent can develop. Proper listening enables you to answer their questions helpfully and show that their input is important to you.
3. Set Some Ground Rules
Come into the conversation ready to establish some ground rules. Many of these will be non-negotiables coming from the wise perspective of an adult. Your child might have questions or complaints about the rules you set. Help them to understand why these limitations are in their best interest.
For example, you might make it a rule that your kids can’t keep their phones in their rooms overnight. This is to protect your kids from improper use of technology that can happen without adult supervision. Bedtime is for sleeping, not texting their friends until 3 a.m.
Complain as they might, stick to your guns. Explain the reason behind each rule you set. Don’t leave kids in the dark, or your guidelines will be nothing but an annoyance to them. Explain the lesson you want them to learn or the reason the rule is in place so that they can come to appreciate (or at least respect) it.
4. Highlight the Good
When discussing healthy phone use with their kids, far too many parents focus only on the evils that come from the improper use of tech. While this is important, don’t let negativity cloud the benefits of your kids having their own cell phone.
Talk with your kids about the positive impacts of having a phone of their own. The biggest by far is the ability to communicate more freely with their friends and distant family members. Encourage them to stay connected with simple texts and quick phone calls when possible.
If you plan on getting your kid a Gabb Phone (you can get 10% off your phone with this link) you can outline the capabilities it provides. Apps such as a camera, music player, and calculator will have a lot of fun and practical uses. It won’t take long for your kids to take advantage of these features.
5. Talk About Safeguarding Personal Information
Of all the things to talk about, protecting your child’s personal information is one of the most important. To use their kids phone safely, they must know which information they can and can’t share with other people.
There are bad people in the world who will try to make a quick buck by selling their personal information at their expense. Or worse. Talk to your kids about sending messages to or accepting calls from unknown numbers. Tell them to be just as careful talking to someone through their device as they would be in person.
Explain why they shouldn’t give their home address or send a photo to anyone they don’t know. Being cautious will protect them and their information from any foul play and let you rest easier.
You may never be ready to let your kids have their first phone, but you can’t keep putting it off forever. A starter kids phone will be perfectly safe if you have an honest discussion with your children before entrusting them with one.
To learn more about Gabb Wireless and their simplified and safe cell phones for kids, click here for a 10% discount.
For more technology related articles and information on how to protect you and your family with safe cell phone usage, click here.