Childproofing a Phone
Buying your child their first phone isn’t easy, you want to buy the best child-friendly phone on the market, but you also fear budget vs coolness – No one wants their child to be “less than” because of your affordability. You also worry about how ‘child safe’ the phone is going to be. No phone is built to be ‘child proof’ but there are measures you can take and settings you can change to make childproofing a phone easier. Giving you peace of mind your child hasn’t downloaded or accessed something or someone they shouldn’t.
Where to start with buying a phone
To start, have a look at what mobiles are compatible with your own phone, so if you’re an Apple user then your child will be best off with an Apple phone, this will make sure you can easily link up with your child and use “Share your location with your family”. If you’re an Android user then your options are a lot more open for compatibility and linking, and you likely won’t need to spend as much as Apple users.
Next up you really, sincerely, and as open-minded as possible and need to take a good look at how responsible your child is. “Ohhh my Dear Charlie is an angel!” Yeah, well, so was Lucifer. Depending on how likely your child is to leave their new phone in a bathroom because they were too busy filming TikToks, or are likely to drop their phone and break it, then you will need to think about the amount you really want to spend on that shiny new phone, if you know you’ll be replacing the phone in two days then I highly suggest the Vodafone Mobiwire Ayasha Mobile phone from Argos. For £3.00 all in your child will be able to text and call you, and nothing else. This brick of the past has no internet connection, no tracking, just a bog-standard basic phone.
And finally, the all-important question – What can you actually afford? Your first child-friendly phone does not need to break the bank, or put you in any financial jeopardy, please do not think that your child will suffer because they don’t have the latest phone. Anyone who makes friends with your child only once they have the latest phone isn’t a great friend, they’ll move on as soon as the next model comes out anyway. Childproofing a phone, however, is important – no matter how old your child is.
Setting up childproofing a phone
Assuming you’ve selected some form of smartphone the best thing to do is charge that bad boy up, get everything synced, parental controls on, Apps pre-downloaded (Don’t forget to ensure you have a strong password on your parental controls and your card details), and phone contacts set up.
When setting up the phone for the first time it will ask you if the device and account is for someone over the age of 18 – Make sure you say no, this will do a lot of the hard work for you and already limit a lot of Apps and start putting in place some parental control. Don’t forget – Check the browser settings (Chrome or Safari) to make sure parental controls are put in place on the Internet as well. If you’re worried about doing this or missing something, go into the store you purchased the phone from and ask them to do it for you, normally they are happy to help if you’ve bought the phone from them (Vodafone, EE, Sky… ) There’s no “being over the top” when childproofing a phone.
There are key safety features which I would suggest looking into, for example on Samsung if you press the lock button 3 times in a row quickly it will send a text to the emergency contacts set up, along with pictures from the front and back camera, and the device location – This is definitely a great feature to set up, just make sure the phone’s location stays on.
App's - yes or no
Whatever Apps you decide are safe for your child will be questioned, by everyone, including your child. Keep in mind; it’s not your friend’s decision, it’s not your neighbours’ decisions, and it certainly isn’t your mother-in-law’s decision (Yesssss, we know back in your day children didn’t have phones, you also didn’t have a fridge or hot and cold running water, so let’s move on from what you think is right for this day and age). Now, social media is unforgivable and relentless, it’s also incredibly uplifting and magical. Speak with your child about online bullying, body image, and managing screen time, please try not to take the fun away of having a phone. Boundaries need to be set in place from the start when childproofing a phone.
Keep an eye on your child’s behaviour as social media can bring out an array of body image issues and mental health issues, what’s posted online isn’t always real. Some people compete for their lives to look perfect through a screen, which is a lot to take in. Make sure your child is aware you’re tracking their phone, otherwise, it’s creepy. There’s no such thing as a child-friendly phone, but there are a lot of measures in place and available to ensure your child’s safety and across the internet.