There used to be a time when parents had to search around the neighbourhood just to call their children home for dinner. Those times have changed, thanks to the digital revolution. Technology has changed the way we connect, learn and explore. We rely on computers, robots and smartphones to help us run our homes, and our daily lives. Nobody can dispute the fact that nowadays children have far greater access to technology and the online world than you did.
There comes a time in every parent’s life when they have to make the decision on whether to give their child a smartphone or not. Introducing your children to technology and the online world is something that you ease them into. To put it simply, if the internet were a pool, then your children should become proficient at using the smaller parts of the internet before having full access. That includes a smartphone. That’s why it’s important for every parent to consider the alternatives, whilst you ease their children into using a smartphone.
So, let’s look at the alternatives you could be used to help you connect, and keep an eye on your children no matter where they are.
Alternatives To Smartphones
1. Children’s GPS trackers
GPS trackers are the alternatives to the “Find my” feature you have on your phones. These trackers are compact, and durable devices that can easily be clipped to a belt, backpack or put in a pocket. There are several different options for children’s GPS trackers, as well as functions like an S.O.S. button, “geofencing,” which can notify you when your child enters or exits a location (like home or school), and how frequently it provides an updated location (to regulate battery life).
Whatever GPS tracker you choose, be sure it’s made with children in mind. The so-called “smart tags” that are used to track down items like lost wallets and keys are really just trackers meant to find stuff, not people.
2. Kids’ smartwatches
With GPS tracking and many other family-friendly communication capabilities, smartwatches may provide parents with the peace of mind they need while also providing youngsters with a fun piece of technology. To put it mildly, there is a vast range of options. Kids’ smart watches can range from those made by Apple, Explora, and Tick Talk to those sold by mobile service providers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and Vodaphone. As a result, you should conduct some research to find the best option for you and your child.
Restricted texting and calling are typical features, and you’ll find that some gadgets are sturdier and water resistant than others, while still other devices offer cameras and straightforward games. In a similar vein, you can choose a smartwatch with a “school time” setting to prevent distractions in the classroom. Additionally, you should pay particular attention to battery life because certain batteries seem to maintain a charge longer than others.
3. Phones for Children
Children’s smartphones are another relative newcomer to the market and a wonderful first step toward full-fledged smartphone ownership. These gadgets have a smartphone-like appearance, feel, and functionality, but they lack social media, app stores, and online browsing. Although the features may vary, your children will be able to store, play music and download apps that you would be okay with.
Some come with a parental control app that lets you gradually introduce your child to more and more services as you see fit. This app can also filter texts from unapproved contacts before they reach your child. Once more, a purchase of this nature necessitates some study, but brands like Gabb wireless and the Pinwheel phone provide a place to start.
4. Flip Phones
Flip phones serve the purpose you need them to; they keep you and your child in touch with one another. They are durable, small, and often have long battery life. Even if your child objects to the thought of a phone that is “not as cool as a smartphone,” they are still a viable option. The flip phone is still in the mix, though, if we’re talking about bringing mobile technology and the mobile internet to our kids gradually.
Flip phones are a great option for your kids though. Just make sure you are aware of the limitations flip phones have (like a lack of parental controls, so no text monitoring or limitations, and the ability to still browse the internet).
How to ease your children into their first smartphone:
There is no rush to buy the first smartphone. It’s a gradual transition that should be made with thought. You can ease yourself and your children into using their first smartphone by having the right security controls in place. For example, ensure to teach your children about online and internet safety. Put efforts in place to block certain sites, and even put a cap on their internet usage. It’s also important to remind your children to regularly update their device software.
By keeping safety and precaution in mind, you can ensure your children lives a private and secure digital life whilst enjoying the benefits tech gadgets can give.