Parents do a lot of research before getting their children their first smartphone. The child should be old enough to handle the electronic device and responsible enough to keep the costly object safe.
Children should know having their smartphone is a privilege and not a necessity. Parents should ensure the children understand this by talking to them and explaining the consequences of losing it or breaking it. Let us explore some key safety tips parents of kids under 10 should take before allowing them to use a smartphone.
- Smartphone Games Safety Tips
Kids under ten usually do not have any pressing need to have a mobile on their own. But, parents give them a smartphone because children start demanding they want one by this age. Nearly 75% of kids under ten use the smartphone to play games and watch videos.
Parents should ensure their children know the following things about playing online games.
- Online games should be played only for certain hours a day.
- It should not interrupt their study, hobbies or family time.
- Parents should check what games the children are playing.
- If there is too much violent content in the game or exposure to unwanted things, block the game or uninstall the app.
- Never share the Wi-Fi password with the children as it will give you control over their mobile internet usage.
- If the child is using mobile data, put restrictions on it. ISP’s have a facility to block the internet after a certain limit every day or after certain hours.
- Introduce children to better kid-friendly games and do not allow them to download anything they want from the play store.
- Teach them about the dangers online strangers they befriend in a game might create. Warn them never to accept any favor in the form of game life or gifts from online strangers in exchange for sharing something personal.
- Nuwber website gives details about people if their name and telephone number or location is entered. Get the real name of the people your child plays online with and confirm their identity. Prevent them from connecting with people your instinct warns you against.
- Forbid the children regarding getting too close to online game mates, or heeding to their wishes like going out of the house to meet them without parents supervision.
The child might use the smartphone and play games online. But the parents should always be in control and know who the child is communicating with and for how long on a daily basis. It will help the parents stay assured they are mingling only with the right group.
2. Smartphone Video viewing Safety Tips
Video usage is also very high among children below ten years. Most children under ten years use their parents’ mobile liberally to communicate with their friends and watch videos on YouTube. Several kid-friendly channels on YouTube create content specifically for children providing them non-stop entertainment.
Set the following rules regarding video watching before giving them smartphone access.
- The smartphone may have parental control software installed in it. Children will be monitored constantly regarding what they are watching.
- Children should not oppose if their parents deliberately block a video or a channel because they think it is inappropriate.
- Kids should agree not to argue or pasture their parents regarding unlocking a particular channel or video or try to watch it from their parent’s mobile.
- It is ok if adult content pops up inappropriately at certain times. The children need not to feel guilty or ashamed of themselves. Inform the parents and quit watching it again if it shows up accidentally.
- Introduce children to useful kids channels pertaining to their interests with attractive, colorful content like BBC Earth, Nat Geo channel, etc. There are numerous channels connected to science, movies, arts, and other topics one may be interested in.
Most kids love colorful content and often get mesmerized by animal channels, magic or craft channels easily. They are not lured to see unnecessary things in videos at this age. But, watch which YouTuber or influencer they are following and prevent them from imitating their mannerisms like swearing.
3. Responsible Smartphone Handling
Kids do not know how to handle things safely and they might break a smartphone or place it on the ground or in weird places where it might get damaged. Tell the kids how costly a mobile phone is and the repair cost will be cut from their pocket money or allowance.
Follow this rule strictly to teach them responsibility. Install a sturdy cover and extra strong scratch guard or protective glass. Warn kids to be very careful about spilling things on the mobile or dropping it in the water.
4. Managing the Smartphone
Teach children to manage their phone like their own asset. They should charge it regularly, wipe the screen, clean the cookies, cache and unused apps regularly. They should delete the images they have accumulated over months and not call the parents for help frequently. If they are old enough to use it, they should be responsible enough to maintain it properly.
Do not get them a new smartphone because of minor repairs or allow them to use your mobile once they get their own. Do not get them another smartphone if the current one is damaged because of their negligence at least for a fortnight. It will teach them the consequences of their actions and help them realize nothing drastic will happen to them without a smartphone.
It is easy to train the kids as they trust their parents more than anyone else. The trust doubles the responsibility of the parents and they should take all the necessary steps to keep their children safe and protected from the numerous online perils.
Talking to the children, hearing their concerns and sharing mutual things will help parents teach and make the child understand how to use a mobile from a young age. Following the four steps given above will enable the parents to do it effortlessly.
Children who learn to use the internet and smartphones responsibly at a young age, do not expose themselves to dangers when they become teenagers and don’t get addicted to the internet that easily.