Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of talk about kids and mobile phone safety. Many tweens and teens got phones as gifts for Christmas. And while you may think that your child is ready for a smartphone, you should make sure that the phone is ready for your child. This means setting up parental controls, text limits, call limits, and depending on the age of your child, maybe even some tracking.
For some deciding the right age to give your child a cell phone can be difficult. I decided to gift my girls who are 9 years old with phones this past Christmas. Why? I think it is time. They are at school for approximately 10 hours a day with their after-school program. That is a long time. Meanwhile I am several miles away working from home. Their Dad is closer, but at work. They are now at the age where they visit friends, attend sleepovers, or go on outings. I don't want them to have to scramble or wait to make a call if they need to get in touch with us. And yes, recent events in the news also had an impact on my decision. I feel better knowing that they can get in touch with me at all times.
How do you manage once your kids have a phone? We have all heard the horror stories or seen news reports of teens that send 5000 text messages a month. This might not be an issue for plans that have unlimited texting, but for others it could mean a massive bill at the end of the billing cycle. Add to that excess data usage, and you could just have a problem on your hands. Of the major carriers only a couple still offer unlimited data plans, so many families have shared data. You certainly do not want your teen to use all of the data on the family account.
Apps from Safely can not only help you protect your children from dangers, but also help you insure that they are where they should be, and protect your wallet by limiting what kids can and cannot do with their smartphones.
No matter which of the major carriers you use, chances are that you can take advantage of Safely apps to protect your family. Apps available include:
- Safely Family Locator (available through AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile)
- Drive Safe (available through Sprint)
- Safely Phone Controls (available through Sprint)
- Safely Go (available free from the Google Play store for all carriers)
If you recently gifted, or you are thinking about gifting a smartphone to your tween or teen, make sure that they are protected with apps from Safely.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Location Labs, the makers of Safely apps for families and publishers of “Safely Times,” a monthly newsletter offering tips and resources for parenting in a digital age. All opinions are my own.