It used to be that getting your driver’s license was the signifying moment when freedom and the race toward growing up started. Times have changed and thanks to an ever-evolving world of iEverything, the timeline has accelerated—having a phone to call your own is the new first step toward independence. One that’s happening earlier and earlier among American families.
So what about your family? Has the topic of first phones come up? Are you battling a constant plea for a phone because a classmate has one? Are other parents asking you about it? Is it a topic on television and in parenting blogs you read? It seems that no matter where you turn, the conversation about giving kids a first phone is everywhere. But regardless of what forces or factors may be influencing you (or trying to) to take this step, this is a choice you have to be comfortable with.
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Safety, security, and peace of mind
One reason you might decide it’s the right time to give your kids a phone is because it can help provide a level of safety and security. If your kids walk to and from school or to after-school activities without an adult, equipping them with a phone means they can always call if plans change, if they need a ride for some reason, or if there’s an emergency.
How do you know if your child is responsible enough to handle having a phone? If your child is generally good at taking care of his or her things and at respecting items in your home, this may not be an area of concern. If your child tends to be careless with belongings or things that belong to others, then maybe it’s not quite the right time for a first phone.
If you’re going to give your child a phone, he or she should be mature enough to follow your rules for using it. For children who have trouble with rules, a phone could become another opportunity to disobey limitations you’ve set. Some parents also worry that their kids are developing a “tech obsession,” and fear the addition of a phone would further the problem. A first phone could also be an opportunity for your child to prove him or herself. Set guidelines around phone usage and see how it goes
Online safety for kids
If you’ve already taught your kids about “stranger danger,” explain that the same rules apply online. Make sure your kids understand they should only be communicating with people they know. You could go as far as to tell them they can only communicate with people you also know, and with people they have first met in real life. From behind a phone, it is very easy for people to pretend to be someone they are not.
You also want to make sure your kids do not share their location online—either intentionally or because they’re using location-sharing apps. You can help safeguard against this by disabling location tracking on certain apps and making sure you approve of the apps being downloaded to make sure they’re safe.
Who’s the boss? You are.
Apps that keep parents in charge.
Deciding to give your child a phone doesn’t mean you’re giving up control. In addition to the control functions different operating systems come with, we’ve designed a family of phone-monitoring apps specifically geared toward helping parents stay in touch with their kids and monitor their phone usage.
Click The Benefits to watch the Apps.
If you’ve decided your child is ready for a phone, the next step is actually picking one.
Visit any Sprint Store near you. You can find one at www.sprint.com/storelocator. Sprint Representatives will help you choose the best phone for your child at the best price.
Don’t forget to validate your employment after adding your child’s phone to your personal Sprint account by gong to www.sprint.com/verify. If you need help, please contact your Sprint Discount Program Manager Natalya Kasha at [email protected].