Teen Mobile Safety
With smartphones, teens have portable and private access to the online world — right in their pockets. Everything they can do on a laptop they can do on a smartphone. This access goes beyond just text messages and phone calls — they can communicate and share through a number of free apps not just those that come with phones or gaming consoles.
This access can open up opportunities for your children to learn and communicate. It also makes talking to your children even more important. Talk to them about what apps they use and with whom they are communicating. Before giving them phones, set rules and guidelines to help them make smart choices with technology.
One of the best ways to know what guidance to give is to know what the phone is capable of, and what kinds of apps your kids want to use.
Here are some things to consider when you’re preparing to talk to your teenagers:
- Are they able to purchase apps on their phone?
- Do the apps they use share their location? Is the location shared with just friends, or is it public?
- Do the apps let them talk with people they don’t know?
Helping your children learn how to behave responsibly with technology isn’t a single conversation — it’s an ongoing process. Some tips to start you off:
- Set a solid foundation. Talk about responsible use of technology, be open to learning about how they use their phones to interact with their friends, and let them know that you are available to help them make smart choices.
- Follow through. Popular apps change often, and kids may encounter different challenges that you didn’t anticipate when you first gave them their phones, so make sure you keep the conversation going.
- Turn off, turn in. Help your children set boundaries to maintain balance by establishing usage rules, including what time to turn off their devices at night.
New technologies and products can give your children the opportunity to explore and grow. Staying in the know can help your children do so safely.