A Child's First Mobile Phone: A Parent's Guide
Your children will, inevitably, ask for some sort of device. This isn't a day to be feared. Mobile devices will allow you to keep in contact with your kids, in addition to helping your children develop social lives. The problem lies in choosing the handset itself. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind.
One of the biggest concerns that a parent may have is that mobile phones are theft targets. Every month, at least ten thousand phones are stolen in London alone, many from children. This makes a cheap and dated handset an appealing option, since thieves probably won't waste their time with it. Parents might even give their old phone to their children and buy a new phone for themselves.
For parents who need to buy a new phone, there's the Nokia 100. It can be found for as cheap as £7. Try to look for an unlocked phone to allow you to use it with a SIM card from any network. It's not fancy, but it is functional and reliable, which is more than enough for most children.
The Payment Plan
Parents have two options in terms of payment plans - pre-paid or post-paid. Pre-paid is the safer and arguably more practical option. If the phone is stolen, your loss is limited to its current credit balance. However, if the phone is going to get used a lot, a contract might be better in the long run. The downside is that the parent is liable for any misuse, making this an option best chosen for responsible children.
You can also opt for a mix of the two and have a capped contract. Currently, only 3 and Tesco Mobile allow for contract capping. It automatically blocks the SIM card once the monthly allowance is used up.
Another thing that may convince you to go with a contract is that there are contracts that come with a phone. These contracts usually require you to stay on for a pre-determined number of months.
Most phones can connect to the Internet, which can be a concern as there are a lot of sites that aren't suitable for children. The good news is that most providers can block access to specific sites. All the parent needs to do is ask the provider.
If it is lost or stolen, report it to the relevant authorities as soon as possible. Mobile insurance is a less than ideal use of money, as most policies do not pay for thefts that occurred in a school. The best thing to do here is to purchase or replace the lost SIM card and phone, and have a discussion with the child about responsibility.
It may seem like a lot to consider, but it is worth the effort. A mobile phone is not just a way to keep track of your kid, it is also a teachable moment in a mobile phone package. Just keep your kind in mind while you shop and you'll pick the right phone.
Top-Rated Screen Time Control Apps for Parents
Do you hate arguing with your child every time you tell them smartphone/tablet time is over? Are you frustrated with the amount of time your teenager spends on their smartphone? If controlling your kids' screen time is becoming too much to bear, it might be time to consider installing parental controls on your family's smartphones and tablets. Check out the following roundup of excellent screen-time-monitoring apps to see which one best suits the needs of your family:
Playtime Kid Crono
Offered by RecreaVision, the Playtime Kid Crono app helps parents control the amount of time their children spend on digital devices. Available for iPhone and iPad users, this app is targeted at younger children, not teens. If a parent's smartphone or tablet is returned promptly once the allowed screen time has elapsed, the parent can reward their child with digital treats within the app. Each child has their own app avatar with a face that gradually grows tired as they play on their parent's mobile device. This application helps children to understand they can benefit by sticking to the screen time allowance their parent has set, instead of having a temper tantrum when they have to stop playing.
Available from Yumyapps, the FamilyTime Dashboard app helps parents control the phones of their children (up to age 18). Parents can lock/unlock phones, monitor their children's location, receive emergency alerts via push notifications, and set geographic check-in points that automatically ping a parent's phone when their child enters a preset zone.
The OurPact app from ParentsWare lets parents sync their digital device to their child's smartphone or tablet. Parents can use the app to block access to the Internet, stop children from playing with specific apps like Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram, and can even create customized screen time schedules for their children. Busy parents can control digital device usage during homework time, music lessons, sports activities, and during family meals.
If you're looking for an iOS screen time monitoring app for your kids, the above-listed options might be just what you need. While spending time on a smartphone or tablet can open a child up to a world of helpful information via the Internet, too much time on a digital device is never good. Monitoring screen time with an app can help you keep control of your child's digital behavior while allowing them some freedom. Will you be adding any of these parental control apps to your family's digital devices?
Screen Time Parental Control
Screen Time has a timer that lets you set a time limit on the apps you want to restrict.
It is also possible to block social apps and games, but allow educational apps during school hours.
In a satisfying sort of way, if you are struggling to get your child’s attention, there is a handy feature that lets you push a button on your phone and your kids will be timed out from their devices!
You may also reward your kids with bonus time for good behaviour, completing tasks and chores.
With the Screen Time parental control app, there are no limits to the number of children or the number of devices you can manage.
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