Getting your child their first smartphone is a big parenting milestone and it’s important that both you and your child are prepared to take on this new, exciting responsibility. A few things parents should consider before taking this step is your expectations for how your child will navigate responsibly, how your child can implement safety precautions and the effects technology can have on their mental health.
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1. Setting Clear Expectations
Communicating your expectations for how they will use their smartphone is important in setting the foundation for their relationship with technology. With so many social media platforms available, you should talk with them about which ones they are interested in exploring. Are they looking to meet new friends? Do they just want to be entertained by funny videos? These conversations will help you better guide them to make smarter decisions online.
2. Online Safety
Teaching your child the importance of online safety is crucial in promoting a positive online experience. As a parent, do your research and learn about the privacy settings available on each social media platform. Talk with your child about the personal details they should and should not be sharing with their online friends including the information in their usernames, account bios and posts. These conversations should also include how they can avoid potentially dangerous situations by being selective about who they add as friends, contacts and followers online.
3. Prioritizing Mental Health
The impact social media and technology can have on your child’s mental health is something we believe should remain an open conversation long after you decide to get your child their first smartphone. The content your child fills their feed with, the friends they chose to interact with and the information they seek out can all directly affect the way they feel about themselves. Encourage them to follow accounts that promote kindness and positivity. Teach them how to identify cyberbullying so that they protect themselves and others from online harassment. Continuously check in with them so that you can better understand what factors could be impacting their mental health and how you can be a strong, consistent support system.
In order to support parents through this journey of introducing their child to the digital world, Cyber Dive created the first-ever, fully monitored smartphone for kids, the Aqua One. This smartphone allows your child the freedom to explore online while giving you the ability to remain consistently involved. The Aqua One provides full parental monitoring access to your child’s smartphone activity so that you can keep an eye on the connections their making, the content their posting and how their activity could be impacting their mental health. The Aqua One comes installed with Cyber Dive’s patent-pending Mental Health Check that interrupts your child’s scroll with psychology-backed questions to provide insight into the emotional and environmental factors that are affecting your child’s well-being. Overall, getting your child their first smartphone should be an exciting time with the potential to strengthen your relationship and initiate important conversations.
Jeff Gottfurcht and Derek Jackson are the co-founders of Cyber Dive.