May I talk candidly with you about kids and phones?
Giving a child a phone without proper “training and guidance” is the same as putting a teen behind the wheel of a car without training and telling her to go and have fun! The latter you would never do, but if we’re honest, most of us have handed our kids a smart phone and thought nothing about the magnitude of the device we placed in their hands.
I’m not saying this to guilt anyone, but I do want us to be more aware of our kids phone usage. We have to realize that phones are used far beyond just making contact with friends and family. As parents, we need to educate our kids on how to be responsible smart phone users.
Let’s start by looking at a few statistics:
- The largest group consuming pornography online is between the ages of 12-17. Pornography is no longer an adult issue. Porn has now infiltrated the ranks of our preteens and teens. If they haven’t yet, your kids will be exposed to porn whether on their own or through friends showing them something.
- 70% of kids stumble upon porn while working on homework or while doing research for a project. Google is great for finding answers to any question. But googling can also be dangerous as it may pull up images or sites that your kids shouldn’t be viewing.
- Only 15% of parents are paying attention to what their kids are doing on their phones or online. That means 85% of parents have no idea what their kids are doing or viewing.
Again, I’m not trying to scare you or make anyone feel guilty about their child having a phone. My goal is to help us help them be responsible users.
Remember, during the 9-12 year age range your child is undergoing a lot of hormonal changes. This process is unnerving to them and us. Our tween-agers are trying to discover who they are and where and how they “fit” in.
They are curious.
They are exploring.
They have a lot of questions.
But they don’t know how to ask questions or what questions to ask us.
Then, in comes the handy dandy computer in the form of a smart phone. A voice command can launch a search for almost anything. The phone now becomes a comforter, almost a buffer between them and the confused hormonal state they are presently experiencing.
So what can we do to protect our children while they’re using their smart phone?
Before you give your child the phone, set up Control Apps on the phone.
Check out these Control Apps:
Zift Parental Control with Net Nanny Filter (for iOS and android)
Norton Family Premier-$49.99/year (iOS and android)
Google Family Link-free (android only)
Make a central “charging station” for phones at night.
Make bedrooms zone free of electronic devices.
Talk to your children about Social Media.
Help them understand that what they type, or take pictures of etc is not private.
Talk about Social Media Predators.
Search their History OFTEN.
Explain what personal information is and why it is important not to share this information online.
Talk about what their friends and even yours are doing online.
Limit Screen time and stick to the limit- that includes us as parents too!
Smart phones are good devices, but they are only as smart as the person using them. Let’s model smart usage and coach our kids to use their devices responsibly as well.
Keep Living Out Loud
in HIM, terry