Not quite ready to give your kid a cell phone? Try this!
Digital Wellness - Bits & Bytes
Surveys have shown that the average age that a kid gets a smartphone is 10 years old. Regardless of your child’s age, you may not feel ready to give your child a phone. So what can you do instead?
A good solution (perhaps one you were forced into during the COVID-19 pandemic) is a shared family tablet! Here are some helpful guidelines to follow when using a family tablet to help mentor your child towards a smartphone:
Vet All apps
Remove all the apps you are not comfortable with and only keep ones you feel are appropriate for your child to use. A great website to help you is Common Sense Media. There you can review any and all apps to help you in your decision making.
Store it centrally
Keep it stored in a central location in your home. An easy way to do this is to set up a charging station in your kitchen or living room (that way you can set a routine that the device is always plugged back in after each use).
Check in often
Check in often on what your child is reading, viewing, creating, or playing. Be sure to take a curious stance (ex. "what's that game all about?" or "what are you favorite apps on our family tablet?"). If your child feels interrogated when you ask questions, they'll be less likely to be honest with you.
Explore family sharing features
Many devices these days provide features for parents to help manage their child's tech use at younger ages (ex. iPad's parental controls empower parents to approve apps, prevent explicit content, limit screen time, and more).
Note: if you've already given your child a smartphone, consider the positive benefit of having much more of an opportunity to mentor your child at a younger age. Establishing clear guidelines is a great strategy that can help you and your child achieve a healthy balance.
Use parental controls on your child's iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch by Apple
Set up parental controls on Android / Google Play by Google Play Help
How to set up a phone or tablet for a child by Engadget