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How to Prepare Your Child for Safe Mobile Phone Use

If you determine that your child is old enough to have a mobile device of their own, here are some steps that you can take to help ensure safe use of the device:

  • Each device’s usage should be defined, such as appropriate usage, guidelines for when to share concerns with parents, and appropriate docking and charging locations.

  • Set up parental controls prior to turning the device over to your children.

  • Help your child select and set up a password for the device to protect your child’s privacy as well as sensitive information.

  • Add parents, other relatives, and emergency numbers to the device’s contact list.

  • Consider additional security and monitoring software.

  • Create a mobile phone use contract with your children. Consider including the following in your child’s mobile phone contract:

    • A phone curfew limiting the hours during which the phone can be used

    • Guidelines concerning how phone time affects family screen time allowances

    • Standards for texting etiquette, including strict guidelines regarding bullying or otherwise disrespectful or unkind behavior via the phone

    • Specifics regarding answering calls from numbers your child doesn’t recognize or placing calls to numbers not on an approved list of contacts

    • Rules regarding downloading apps with parent permission only

    • A strict “no texting while driving” and no-sexting policy (if age appropriate)

    • Consequences for breaking any rule within the mobile phone contract

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