The holidays are fast approaching and many parents will be purchasing a mobile device for their children. In some families, this will be the child’s first mobile device and others their first smartphone! We’ve compiled 6 ideas to help with this decision and how to manage this new shiny toy after the holiday season.
- Is my child old enough to be responsible for a personal device? Research has shown that kids two and under should not be using them at all and should be focused on human interaction; kids under 5 should only use them for educational games and shows, but not as a ‘babysitter’; and that kids under 7 probably aren’t responsible enough to have their own. Read more about screen time recommendations here.
- Should they have a data plan? If they have a job and/or understand the concept of having to pay for services used, then they’ll probably understand that there’s a limit to their data. Make sure you teach them how to check their usage so that they don’t go over. Also make sure that they understand that they will be responsible for any over-usage (extra chores etc.). If you think this might be too much, stick to Wi-Fi only.
- Android or iOS? This comes down to personal preference. If your house is Apple-centred, with iMacs and Apple TVs, go with iOS. If you lean more towards Android products, stick with Android. Keep in mind that there are more features available for Boomerang on Android (at least for the time being!) Review our comparison chart.
- Enable Parental Controls: this is not just limited to using Boomerang. Parental controls also exist inside the App Store or Google Play, YouTube app and many other apps that your child may install.
- Consider having a phone-usage contract! Family contracts are a great way to make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows the rules. This can also help kids learn the skills and benefits of compromise. Think about creating the contract together so that everyone is happy and involved. Let your kids know that if any of the agreed-upon rules are broken, there will be consequences. If doling out consequences, make sure the punishment matches the crime; don’t be too harsh, or too lenient. Download our smartphone contract!
- Remember to download Boomerang on the device before you give it to your child! This will allow you to time-out their device, track their location, and ensure they’re engaging with safe content. Boomerang is available for Android and Apple mobile devices.