We live in a technology-driven age. Your children are surrounded by smart phones, computers, and social media in their schools and at home. It can be daunting for parents to protect their children from the dangers of technology. There’s no need to fear, though. Here’s how you can keep your kids safe through smartphone limitations and boundaries:
When Should Kids Get a Smartphone?
It seems as though younger and younger kids are getting smartphones. Smartphones once seemed like a gift for students entering high school. Now, the average age for getting a smartphone is 10.3 years old. And according to one study, 90% of the children could operate an iPad by the age of two.
Although these are average ages, it’s important to decide for yourself the appropriate time for your child to have a smartphone. Setting a minimum age for you children to have a smartphone will allow you as a parent to best teach them about digital devices and media. Even then, however, the phone should still be monitored.
Create An Agreement
By creating a smartphone agreement, your child has clear expectations and boundaries for having a smartphone. Here’s a few examples of smartphone limitations and consequences you can give your kids:
No Phones in Private Areas
The best way to monitor your child’s smartphone is when it’s visible. Phones should stay in common areas like the kitchen and living room. Avoid allowing your child to take them to the bathroom or to their bedroom.
No Phones Overnight
Smartphones hurt your sleeping habits. The blue light emitted from the screen tells your brain that it’s morning. This suppresses your brain’s melatonin production and prevents you from going to sleep. Sleep is important for physical and mental health. For a growing child, it’s important that they put the phone away and catch that necessary rest.
No Downloading Apps Without Approval
There are lots of apps out there that are unsafe for kids to use. Yet, kids are being lured into using these apps. Before you let your child download an app, research it and see what technology safety experts say about it. Apple also allows you to do family iCloud sharing where you can have full access to songs, books, and apps your child has downloaded.
There’s still the possibility that your child will break your smartphone rules. The consequences of doing so need to be outlined in your agreement as well. They should know if their phone will be taken away or if their cell phone time will be limited. Clear expectations and consequences leave no room for loopholes.
Finding a Balance
Setting limitations and boundaries for a child’s smartphone doesn’t make you an evil dictator. Your goal is to keep your child safe. Yet, you want to allow them to be their own individual. It’s important to have a healthy balance in both of these areas to prepare your child to take on the digital world.
Text by Kendal Harris