Color & Control:

First phone:

Timing, rules, and safety

By Jessie Forbes

The age in which your youngster should be given their own phone is becoming a  topic of debate as digital devices become more of an everyday tool. Regardless of peer pressure, what’s is important to keep in mind, your  child’s needs, abilities and lifestyle.

Consider the pros and cons…
Cellular devices can be incredible resources as well as safety tools but they can also be used to connect with or participate in activities that could be inappropriate and or unsafe.


• Find me: With internal tracking devices and location settings parents now have the ability to trace their child or teen in an emergency.

• Talk to me: Cell phones can be a means of communication between parents and children while they are at school, playdates, and activities.

• Teach me: Directions and assignments are often given usually given online nowadays. Cell Phones and their connection to the Internet  can help a youngster navigate, look up information and provide learning supports such as math help, music lessons, or fast facts.  


• Distract me: Too much screen time, browsing the wrong sites and having conversations with strangers may  expose kids to unnecessary risks or content that is manipulative or harmful. 

• Keep me Safe: Along with mental health issues that stem from online use, phone access to social media can also subject naive children to online predators and cat-fishers. 

• Of note: Law enforcement experts have stated that over 50% of the victims of sexual exploitation online are between the ages of 12 and 15. 

Beware: Online grooming 

A very common way predators can use popular social media platforms available on youngsters’ cell phones to communicate with them. Simply put: adults will secure a child’s trust with fake photos to create a false online identity. They complement them, send gifts and pretend to share interests. 

What you can do
1) Set boundaries: Be first to offer guidelines as to when, where and how the phone is used: Have a discussion with your child so they understand your concerns and feel comfortable.

2) Setting nighttime reminders: Some phones have a setting where all apps will close down at a certain time that can only be turned on again by a parent from their phone.. 

3) Block some things: Just because your child has a phone, doesn’t mean access to everything. Consider blocking some social media apps on your child’s phone that you’re worried about

4) Find a data plan that fits your comfort zone: whether this means finding one with a limited amount of data or a plan that is limited to texting and calling only. 

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