Mobile Phone Safety for Children - Key Tips

Selene B
November 1, 2021
Hot Topics

“Would you allow your child to drive a car without driving lessons, even if you trust your child? If not then think, what dangers are you exposing your child to, by giving them a mobile phone without preparing them for it”- Concerned Parent

As parents, it is important to think about mobile phone safety for children and the long term effects of its inappropriate use. In this day of exponential growth in mobile phones amongst children, including our own, we need to make our children aware of the dangers of inappropriate mobile phone use. Although it can be difficult, it is best to make an early start. However, it is never too late to guide our children and restrict them from treading into dangerous territories with their mobiles.

Mobile phone safety for children is important. It is like fire, if we are not careful it can very easily burn us badly. On the other hand, if used properly it can help us cook a delicious dinner. 

Therefore, before you give your child a phone, talk to them about:

  • Cyber bullying
  • Acceptable Apps on their phone
  • Planned no mobile phones times
  • Social Media

Cyber bullying- It is important to talk to your child about cyber etiquette and cyber bullying. Please don’t ignore the fact that cyber bullying does exist and your child is not immune to it. 1 in 5 Australian young people reported being socially excluded, threatened or abused online.

  • 1. Educate your children to identify cyber bullying behaviour
  • 2. Encourage them to be up-standers and not by-standers.
  • 3. Encourage your children to talk to you or their School-teachers, Principals or Counsellors if they have any concerns (no matter how small)

Most importantly, explain to your children never to tolerate or engage in any bullying behaviour online. Emphasize that bullying is not tolerated anywhere and there are serious consequences. Sometimes the consequences can be irreversible. It is never cool to be a bully or tolerate one.

Acceptable Apps on their phone- It is a good idea to do a health check of what your child is consuming by way of mobile apps or what website they are visiting.

Clearly instruct your child not to install apps in their mobile phones without your permission. Also, it is a good idea to regularly review the apps in their mobile phones and ask them to remove those that you think are not appropriate.

You might feel guilty for taking away something from your child. It can also create some undesirable conflict with your child as they feel deprieved of the privileges that their friends are enjoying. However, having an angry child for few days is much better than exposing your child to inappropriate contents that they might be accessing. Once they have calmed down, you can discuss why you think it is unsafe for them.

Planned no mobile phones times- In today’s day and age it is not possible to stay away from one's mobile phone. However, it is also not essential to stay glued to one's mobile phone all the time. This holds true for our children too.

  • Set up ‘planned no mobile phone times’ for the family (yes, family includes parents!). To make this work, it is advisable that no one checks their mobile phones during this time, including parents. This could possibly be around dinner time.
  • Have a charging station where everyone must put their mobile phones for the night. There should be no reason for anyone to take their mobile phones to their rooms.
  • If it helps, make a 'Mobile Phone Contract' with your child. You can do that by sitting with them and agreeing on rules that they need to follow.

There are simple ways to find a balance for your children to stay connected and also have a downtime to refresh themselves.

Social Media- Many children have social media accounts even though they might be below the appropriate age to have such accounts. If your child is in this category, then you are strongly advised to re-consider their accesses in view of the potential dangers of having such accounts that they might not be mature enough to handle.

Social media is great tool when used for the right purpose but it can affect you negatively for number of reasons that would be beyond our control. For instance, young children can feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed when attacked with negative social media comments.

If they have a social media account, encourage them to block request from strangers or who they feel threatened by.

There are lots of ways to handle the challenges of giving a mobile to your child. Like everything else in life, help them prepare for it.

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Helpful links: - Good habits start young - Cyber Bullying

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