Things to Consider When Buying Your Child Their Very First Smartphone

If you’re like most parents, you’ve probably been hassled for months or even years to buy your child a smartphone. All the kids want their own mobile device ASAP these days and can be relentless when pursuing their goals in this area. 

If the time has come and you feel your youngster is ready for the responsibility, it’s not quite as simple as picking out a product, putting in a SIM card, and letting them go on their way. 

Here are some key things to consider when setting your kid up with their first smartphone to limit some of the risks of use that can come with such devices. 

Create a Budget for the Purchase

For starters, it’s wise to create a budget for the purchase. Decide how much you feel comfortable outlaying on the product and what you can afford, and let your child know this. You might want to buy a phone on a plan or buy it upfront; either way, set your budget early to help avoid fights with your youngster about which item they get and why.

If they’re old enough to have their own part-time job, you might also want to let them know a dollar figure you’ll contribute and then tell them if they want anything more expensive, they’ll need to pay for that themselves out of their own earnings. 

Consider Opting for a Cheaper Product

Regardless of affordability, it also pays to consider how reliable your child typically is with keeping and maintaining their possessions. While they might be asking for the newest iPhone or some other popular smartphone, you may want to opt for a much more affordable item that won’t be such a big deal to get over if they forget where they left it on the bus, playground, at the shops, in the park, etc. 

Younger children, in particular, are often best off with simple, low-cost phones as an introduction. You might want to see how long they manage to keep track of their phone and stop it from being damaged before deciding whether or not to upgrade them to something more expensive. This test can also be a great way to introduce your children to the concept of caring for their items and not being blasé about them. 

Make a List of the Features They Do and Don’t Need

Next, it’s beneficial to list the various features you want your child to have access to in a smartphone and those you don’t want them to or don’t think they have any need for. You’re sure to want them to be able to call or text you and others, for a start, but what else might you want them to use or learn? For instance, do you want them to be able to browse the internet, access emails, be able to purchase music or books, or play games? What about social media platforms and other apps? 

Younger children generally just need the basics, while teenagers will be very keen to have cart blanche access and will generally be more able to handle this, too. Keep in mind that you can set up mobile data usage limits and take advantage of parental controls to help limit risks and put your mind at ease. Once you know the features on the “must-have” list, you’ll find it easier to decide on a phone when shopping. 

Train Your Child on Using Their Device and Doing So Safely

Lastly, be sure to give your child some training on how to use their device, especially if they’re still relatively young and haven’t used smartphones a whole lot yet. Show them how to use all the basics they’re going to be able to use and set them up with a contact list for emergencies and other instances. 

Another key point of note is keeping security and safety in mind. Cybercriminals continuously find ways to break into systems and networks, and smartphones are no different. You must protect your child’s identity, financial information on the phone and accounts they log into from it, and other sensitive details. 

It pays, then, to purchase comprehensive security software for the smartphone that includes quality ID security and have your child use strong passwords on the mobile device itself and all their online accounts. Plus, chat with your child about their digital footprint and how it gets created and can be used by pedophiles or other creeps and criminals. 

You also need to ensure the software on the phone gets updated when new versions get released, and, for older children, it’s a good idea to chat with them about some common hacker scams they need to be aware of.First Smartphone

Finally getting permission to have their own smartphone is a big deal for kids, but it’s important not to be rushed into saying yes and to take the steps above to help ensure the purchase is beneficial now and in the future.

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