Setting up your child’s new smartphone

Smartphones offer children the ability to be connected to the internet wherever they are, but keeping kids safe from potentially the harmful side of the digital world, can be a big task. So whether you are gifting your child a new phone or it’s their first, it’s important to consider setting up controls on their device.

There are many pros and also cons for kids who have a smartphone. Smartphones open up a world full of exciting and interesting content, however, they offer unmonitored access to everything from explicit content to gambling sites.

The majority of smartphones today have pre-installed parental controls or are part of the system where you can buy them. Also, there are many parental apps and softwares in the market you could use to supplement these controls.

4 kids on their smartphones

App guides

When setting up a smartphone, your child is likely to download apps. Visit our app guide to get expert tips, resources and recommendations.

See guide
Parental Controls light-bulb

Want to learn about setting up parental controls on other devices? Visit our Parental Control page for more information.

Choosing a Google or Apple smartphone

The two most popular devices are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Both have built-in parental controls that can allow you to set the maturity level of apps, set pin codes and screen time preferences.

Parental controls

As kids venture through the ever-growing worldwide web, it is likely they may come across harmful content. Tools such as Google’s safe search aim to filter out explicit results like porn however it is still important to set up parental controls on their devices. Other products like Google Family Link or Apple’s Family Sharing allows you to set controls such as explicit content filters, location sharing, in-app purchasing, etc.

In-app downloads and purchasing restrictions

With online gaming and apps becoming increasingly popular with many games and apps being linked to purchasing tokens to ‘get to the next level’ could possibly result into kids accidentally running-up bills, so it may be worthwhile disabling in-app downloads and purchases. Alternatively, you can look at sim only deals that offer the usage limits your child needs.

Is it your child’s first phone?

The recommended age for a child’s first mobile is around 11 but we know that children as young as six have phones nowadays and so it may be worth considering the following before gifting them one:

  • Are they open and honest of the type of content they currently engage in? What do they watch on Youtube? What games do they play?
  • Are they tech-savvy?
  • How responsible and mature are they such as doing chores, being kind and honest?

Parents can make the judgement whether a child is ready for a phone – we recommend sitting them down and setting up a clear agreement so they know what is appropriate or inappropriate use.

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