As part of an ongoing series this week about online and mobile safety, Family Online Safety Institute CEO, Stephen Balkam, is here to provide tips to help keep your family safer online. In my recent interview Stephen talked about mobile safety and Facebook. Today he’s providing factors to consider if you’re thinking about giving your child a cell phone.
Tech Savvy Mama: One question that I am commonly asked by fellow parents is what is the right age for a cell phone. I tend to think that it is a decision that differs for every family. What factors should parents think about as they consider the possibility of getting their child a cell phone as a holiday gift? Are there certain features to look for such as options provided by carriers?
Stephen Balkam: I would agree that the right age for a cell phone differs by family, but mostly by child. Some 15 year-olds maybe be less mature and responsible in their digital use than a 10 year-old. Parents really need to consider their children’s understanding of the digital space, their willingness to stay in open communication with their parents, and their willingness to follow rules.
In regards to choosing options provided by carriers, parents definitely need to research what controls are available from each carrier and the carrier’s policy and track record of information security. Setting time limits on a child’s phone is a particularly helpful parenting tool.
This is part of a series of posts from my interview with Stephen Balkam, CEO of FOSI. Additional topics this week include: