Looking for tips for kids using phones? Here are some tried and true tips for moms!
Kids using phones can bring up a lot of emotions in their parents. I have found that there can be a lot of fear and uncertainty around giving kids phones, which is understandable. However, this does not have to be a scary thing.
Our kids generally get a phone around the start of 6th grade. While I know this may seem early for some, for us, it seemed in the middle of what we were seeing with people in our area.
As you decide what type of phone to get for your child, know there is no right decision. You have to do what is best for your family.
Over time, we have seen so many good things from giving boys phones around this age. I have learned that you can be intentional with this and use it as a great training time!
Tips for Kids Using Phones
1) Having a phone is a privilege.
From the start of your child having a phone, it is important to remind them that this is a privilege. Personally, we have never given a phone as a gift because we wanted it to be more of something that is given as a privilege and responsibility.
It is something that can be taken away and will be monitored.
2) Use Life 360.
A mom of older kids told me to get Life 360 on all of our phones and I have loved this. We put this app and the Youversion Bible app on our kids’ phones from day one.
3) Give more access to the phone over time.
From the start, we focus on teaching our kids to use the phone for texting and calls. They can have a couple of games on there but there is no social media.
If you are using iPhones, you can set it up where you have to approve any apps that are downloaded. This gives a nice level of protection.
4) Set up screen time.
I am only experienced in using iPhones, so I will share directly about that.
When setting up your child’s phone, you can set up screen time limits. Both of our boys’ phones shut down at a specific time each night and cannot be used until a specific time in the morning. The only way to turn this off is to know a password that only I know.
While setting up your child’s screen time, consider setting up your own. Talk with your child about how it is hard to set limits and the importance of it.
5) Decide where the phones will be charged.
Do you want to have a main charging station? Will the phones be charged in the bedrooms? Make a decision with this and stick to it.
I love having a main charging station for electronics like this.
6) Have open communication.
From day one, make sure your child knows that you can and will look at the phone at any time. Cultivate an atmosphere of open communication where they can feel comfortable sharing with you if something is uncomfortable.
7) Use Bark for added protection.
I love what Bark is doing and how they help partner with parents to protect kids in the online world. This is something you will need to pay for, but I think it is good to look into it. It helps monitor what is on the phone, location, and more.
8) Use the phones for good!
One of my favorite parts of having kids with phones is getting texts from them. It is a simple way to connect together.
You can have a family group message and send jokes or encouraging things. You can also use the Youversion Bible App and do a study together. There are so many ways that phones can be used for good.
Entrusting your child with a mobile phone is hard but I like to think of it like teaching them to drive. You are training your child how to navigate the online world. You get to teach them how to use a phone properly.
It will take time, and there will be errors, but the middle school and high school years are a great time to start training so they will have good boundaries in place for the future.
Want more tips?
Check out these tips for screen time and kids.