When is the right time to buy your child a smartphone? According to research by Telstra that age is getting younger and younger and the telco has come up with ways to help manage your child’s screen time.
Telstra Mobile Protect is a free service for customers that allows parents to set time-of-day limits and mobile web use along with the ability to block unwanted calls and text messages on the Telstra network.
The service also lets users set up a safe list of numbers and websites
Telstra customers can add Mobile Protect to their kids’ eligible Telstra mobile service here.
Telstra has also prepared a downloadable contract called “My First Mobile Agreement” for parents and children to set the ground rules after the child is given their first smartphone.
According to Telstra’s study, the average age a child receives their first smartphone is at age 12 but some parents have given a device to children as young as three.
Peace of mind and being able to be in easy contact was the main reason (65 per cent) why parents decide to give their child a phone while 38 per cent said they wanted to give their son or daughter more independence.
But one issue for parents is when use of that device encroaches on study time and sleep.
According to 66 per cent of parents, their children use smartphones between 9pm and midnight with 29 per cent saying their kids fall asleep while using their phones.
Mobile cyber risk were also a worry for parents with 79 per cent worried their kids will receive unsolicited contact and 74 per cent concerned about the type of content they access online.
And 55 per cent of parents admitted they don’t set any guidelines on how their children will use their device and what sort of content they are permitted to access.
Telstra has come up with a contract between a parent and child to set the boundaries for their use of their first smartphone.
You can download it here.
The contract looks at balancing use of their online activities and social media with exercise and outdoor activities, protecting their privacy, respecting others online and reporting anything that makes them uncomfortable online.
From the parents’ side, the contract also covers them allowing their kids some degree of freedom, not stalking their children on social media and listening to their children’s concerns.
TELSTRA PARENTING TIPS FOR THE DIGITAL AGE
Talk with your kids about their digital lives, create conversations and stay involved. Assure children that their internet privileges won’t be taken away if they are exposed to content that makes them feel uncomfortable or concerned.
Ask your children how they use technology and try it for yourself – try playing a game or uploading a video together.
SET THE GROUND RULES
Explain the rules of responsible device ownership (such as care of equipment, staying within data limits) and help your children create a media use roster, allocating blocks of time for homework, chores and their screen time.
KEEP IT PERSONAL
Talk to your children about the value of personal information, what it is and why it’s important to be careful sharing it. Encourage children to ‘think before they click’, to think about content and the consequences of posting.
BE AN OFFLINE SUPPORTER
Encourage kids to have some screen-free time each day and turn off devices before bedtime.
DO UNTO OTHERS
Teach kids to treat others the same way they’d like to be treated online and be zero-tolerant to rude or mean online behaviour.
USE PARENTAL CONTROLS
Consider parental controls to help manage children’s digital activity and restrict access to sites with adult content. For Telstra products and services, we recommend Telstra Mobile Protect for mobile devices and Telstra Online Security for your home network.
BE A ROLE MODEL
Don’t just talk about the right thing to do, be a role model with your own digital habits.
Thumbnail image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net