Did you know that the average age that a child receives their first cell phone around 11 years old?
This is a reality that provides both benefits and risks that are important for parents to consider when deciding whether or not a child is ready to have a cell phone. If you are considering allowing your child to have a cell phone as they head back-to-school, start by getting educated and talking to your kids about the dangers and consequences associated with inappropriate cell phone use.
While your child should have private moments to themselves and with others, it is important to monitor their actions and ensure they aren’t using their phone inappropriately or sending/receiving inappropriate, unhealthy or threatening messages from others. To help us with all of our cell phone concerns, we enlisted Dr. Jon McCaine, Clinical Psychologist at Bayless Healthcare, who shared some tips on how our kids can be safe even when they have a cell phone.
Tips on how to use parental controls on your kids' phone:
- If your child’s cell phone has access to the internet, be aware of parental control options and what can be altered or added to your child’s phone without prior authorization.
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- Phones should be password locked and no personal information including location and phone number should be provided to anyone other than family and trusted friends.
- Be aware of geo-location functions including those that are default options that do not require activation. If you can locate your child, others may be able to do so as well.
- Finally, designate time slots for talking — perhaps after homework and chores are completed, or before dinner.
Tips provided by Dr. Jon McCaine, Clinical Psychologist at Bayless Healthcare
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