Does your back-to-school shopping list include a mobile phone for your children? While there are many benefits, make sure this doesn’t add up to problems for you! Consider the following key issues before you hand over a new phone.
Which plan is the most suitable?
Mobiles can be expensive to use. Do the research on available monthly phone plans and compare them with pre-paid products. Help your children understand that every text message, phone call or download costs money. Pre-paid mobiles may help you to better manage their spending.
Do they need a smartphone?
Think about what your children most need the phone for. Internet-enabled smartphones come with features kids might not really need—or you might not want them to have access to yet. Smartphone features include unsupervised internet access, a camera and a wide variety of data-hungry online games and apps.
If you do choose a smartphone for your child, make sure you:
- Check automatic download and in-app purchase settings as these can incur high costs on monthly plans or use up pre-paid credits quickly.
- Keep credit card details away from your children so they can’t buy apps and music without your knowledge. If you already have credit card details stored online, make sure you add password protection.
- Encourage your kids to use low-cost or free Wi-Fi hot spots wherever possible to keep costs down—particularly to download apps and watch videos.
- Look out for handy usage alerts by SMS when you hit 50, 85 and 100 per cent of your monthly data allowance. Some of these alerts may be received with a 48-hour delay, so make allowances for immediate past use. Teach your child to tell you when these alerts arrive.
Where can I get more information?
For more tips on using mobile apps, check out our guide to apps and in-app purchases.
For advice and info on issues like cyberbullying, sexting and inappropriate content, see the Cybersmart Parents’ guide to online safety.