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Our daughter just turned 13 and got a big upgrade on her phone. Meanwhile, a few of her friends got their first smartphone. There’s nothing like the joy of giving the perfect holiday gift, but if you have kids in your life, gifting a smartphone might feel like a double-edged sword.All of us parents are scrambling to make sure these kids are safe while online. Today's smartphones are powerful computers and they need to some with some guardrails. Here are the best safety apps for your child's new smartphone.

Related: Busy mom tips for managing family calendars

Best Safety Apps for Your Child’s New Smartphone

With freedom comes responsibility, and now that over half of American children own a smartphone by age 11. And kids even younger than that are getting phones too--about 1 in 5 children have one by the age of 8 years old. You wouldn't allow your child to go online at age 8 or 10 without safety precautions and the same goes for phones. Prepping your kids’ new gift with the right safety tools is key.

Top apps to install on your kids’ new smartphone:

Before you pass along that cool new tech device, download these apps to your phone (and the child's phone) to improve your oversight.

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  1. Life360: This is the leading family safety and coordination app and a go-to for our family. We mostly use the location sharing feature, but you can also get smart notifications, Crash Detection (for drivers and passengers), Roadside Assistance, SOS Help Alerts, ID Theft Protection and more. With both free and premium versions of the app, Life360 is the go-to safety app for families around the globe. Head to Life360
  2. NetNanny: blocks harmful content from your child’s phone before they get the chance to see it. You can monitor social media intake, filter for negative content & receive alerts for specific internet searches. Head to NetNanny here
  3. LastPass: As your child develops their online presence, it’s important to stay safe and organized with sensitive information. Use this app to store and strengthen your kid’s password so that data breaches can be avoided. Head to LastPass here.
  4. ReThink: Dealing with cyberbullying can be intimidating, but preventing it before it starts is possible. This app detects potentially harmful words in your child’s content and notifies them about the potential harm before it’s posted. Head to ReThink here

While these apps won't solve every problem, they are a good start. Please keep in mind the best policing mechanism is talking to your kids and doing frequent check-ins on the phone. Since you paid for the phone, you should always have the password to sign into the account. 


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Need more ideas on what to do with the kids? Be sure to follow our Activities to Do with the Kids board on Pinterest here.

Best Safety Apps for Your Child’s New Smartphone

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