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Mobile Phones for Kids — What Parents Should Consider & How

by TerriAnn
Cookies & Clogs | Technology | What should be considered regarding mobile phones for kids? Use this resource from Sprint for information about your child's first phone.


It’s crazy how commonplace mobile devices are these days. Even babies are tech savvy when it comes to using mobile phones. But, as the child grows, when should you let them have their own phone? What type of phone is best? Should any guidelines be set in place? What dangers exist? These are valid concerns when deciding when to get mobile phones for kids.

What to Consider When Choosing Mobile Phones for Kids

Once upon a time, I wrote a post based on the experience we had with our daughter. I suggested that parents consider each child’s needs and maturity. They should also look at how responsibility, safety, parental controls, and use of time will come into play. But, that was five years ago. So much has changed since then.

Phones now are more advanced. New models are all smartphones, complete with camera, video, gaming, organizing, and messaging functions. Social media is now geared to younger generations with platforms such as Snapchat. These allow kids to communicate with friends or to promote cyber-bullying. In-app game purchases have wreaked havoc on parents’ phone bills. Then there’s the 24/7 access to the internet with the unfiltered dangers that lurk there. Letting your child have their own cell phone is a weighty matter.

Cookies & Clogs | Technology | What should be considered regarding mobile phones for kids? Use this resource from Sprint for information about your child's first phone.

Mobile Phones for Kids — Sprint’s “Kid’s First Phone” Website

So where can parents turn for current information about mobile devices for children? Well, I recently discovered Sprint’s new “Kid’s First Phone” website. That site contains expert advice, an online quiz, and more to help parents decide on their phones for kids. I am blown away by how much information and support parents are can find here. I sure wish this was available when we were researching our daughter’s first phone.

You can also learn about apps to help parents and children navigate this new territory. These include Sprint Family Locator, Sprint Mobile Controls, Sprint Drive First, and Family Wall for Sprint. Then, learn about customizable parent-child mobile contracts with set parameters, rules, and usage limits.

If you are thinking about whether or not to get your child his or her first phone, try checking out the “Kid’s First Phone” website. After you know all the pros and cons about mobile phones for kids, then you can confidently make a decision that is right for your family.

Thanks to Sprint, one reader will win a brand new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ($584 value, does not include service). This is not the newest model out. However, for a child’s first phone, I would definitely go with an older model in case they mess it up a bit. Plus, this is still a powerhouse smartphone. Hey, you might even want to keep it for yourself. 😉 Enter below!

I received a device to keep and a device to giveaway in exchange for sharing this information. All opinions are my own.

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harold July 29, 2016 - 12:44 pm

My advice is to teach them about data use, you don’t want them going over their limit.

Jill Rivera July 29, 2016 - 1:00 pm

I would take the phone away at night, so they can get a good nights sleep.

Adrienne Gordon July 29, 2016 - 1:32 pm

Make sure you know you will monitor their activities.

Gary Emes July 29, 2016 - 1:49 pm

Only allow to use for emergency and when home only in your precense

Margaret Smith July 29, 2016 - 2:44 pm

Limit their use. Homework done first. Not while eating with others. Teach them good phone manners.

chris v July 29, 2016 - 6:41 pm

watch em like a hawk

Fran July 29, 2016 - 7:48 pm

don’t buy them a phone before they’re ready to use it properly.

Deb Christie July 29, 2016 - 11:02 pm

Before giving it to them, initiate an agreement on how much phone time can be used and explain you can and will check it daily. If they go over, they lose it the next day.

Cynthia C July 30, 2016 - 4:41 am

You might want to warn them about communicating with strangers and giving out personal information.

Kimmy Ripley July 30, 2016 - 6:34 am

Monitor their social media to keep them safe!

Denise S July 30, 2016 - 6:52 am

Warn them not to speak to anybody they don’t know and not to answer strange texts.

Charlene Drake July 30, 2016 - 7:32 am

Tough question to answer. We all want our children to be safe, so I would have to say having adult access to the phone. To be able to see what the child is doing and saying.

Gary E July 30, 2016 - 10:43 am

Do not post pictures

nickie July 30, 2016 - 11:22 am

Monitor there activites

Elsie July 30, 2016 - 11:24 am

I would include all of the above ( excellent!! ) comments, plus I would say that continuing conversations are necessary, as the child matures, and in future situations.

Michele Pineda July 30, 2016 - 1:14 pm

Make sure that it is something easy to use, has monitoring capabilities to make sure we as parents know what they are up to, and make sure they know the dangers of conversations with strangers and sexting, which is something I discuss with my 14 yr old alot since it is important to be aware of what is out there since things are so different from when I was younger.

Sue Barney July 30, 2016 - 1:36 pm

I would make sure they get unlimited texting I made that mistake with my oldest son I was amazed at how many texts they can send!

nistka93 July 30, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Limit the amount of times they spend playing games.

Austin Baroudi July 30, 2016 - 10:59 pm

Pay close attention! Thanks so much for the chance!

Pamela Garcia July 31, 2016 - 12:52 am

My son is 11 and homeschooled so I don’t have as many issues as other parents may have since their children may be using their phones at school.
My husband and I sat down with our son the day we gave him his phone and covered several things. He is but allowed to have unknown contracts in his phone, if his father our I don’t know them then there is no contract. Absolutely no social media usage until we feel he is old enough (with the exception of youtube videos). One of us checks his photo, video and web history periodically to make sure there is nothing inappropriate going on. And he is top NEVER under any circumstance leave without his phone in case of an emergency.
Luckily he is a great kid and we haven’t had much trouble at all.

Trinity Rosario July 31, 2016 - 1:04 am

Set limits on data/texting. Monitor often!

Kim S July 31, 2016 - 4:58 am

My advice would be to keep an eye on who they’re talking to and what they’re talking about!

Steve Weber July 31, 2016 - 5:14 am

I would set parental boundaries on what they can/cannot view on their phone.

brittany doerfler July 31, 2016 - 5:53 am

My advice would be to teach them how to wisely use their data and text messaging.

Annalisa Kraft-Linder July 31, 2016 - 5:55 am

Teach them that there are limits and that its is a communication, not a time wasting tool

Debbie F July 31, 2016 - 6:10 am

I would say make sure you know how to operate it first and know how to limit which sites they can visit and how to limit data use so they don’t run up a huge bill. 🙂

Char July 31, 2016 - 6:21 am

I would have a discussion with my children about phone safety first. Thank you so much!

Cindy Peterson July 31, 2016 - 7:09 am

Set up a passcode and review the guidelines and consequences for not following the guidelines.

Wehaf July 31, 2016 - 7:14 am

I would work out an agreement with the child – they are more likely to follow a contract they’ve had some say in.

chris z July 31, 2016 - 7:24 am

i would take it at night

AARON RECK July 31, 2016 - 7:27 am

I would seriously advise them to reconsider this and wait longer. If you want to do it wait longer to make sure.

Stephanie S July 31, 2016 - 7:33 am

I would teach my son how to use it in emergencies first and foremost. I would make sure that it had an ICE app for emergency responders just incase. Next I would teach him about the whole data versus wifi thing and make it his responsibility to keep it charged and ready. And if he loses it or damages it, the next phone comes out of HIS pocket.

Kelly D July 31, 2016 - 7:46 am

I would think of programming important #’s in the phone and loading a few apps that would be useful for emergencies.

Jessica To July 31, 2016 - 8:07 am

I would make sure you go over the important phone numbers and useful apps.

Justin Sparks July 31, 2016 - 10:16 am

I dont think kids should have a phone…unless its basically your phone it is impossible to monitor in the way that would make you feel comfortable or your mind at ease there is just to any loopholes now and even worse people out there.

James Doyle July 31, 2016 - 10:33 am

tracking, parental controls and limits are a must <3

Mary Beth Elderton July 31, 2016 - 11:23 am

Expect kids to make mistakes with the phone in the first few months. Use those mistakes as teaching opportunities about data plans/costs, app costs/usage, etc. Also, “follow” them on social media, if they use their phones for that.

Carol S July 31, 2016 - 11:40 am

My best advice would be to be practical and trust your child. Kids can only learn responsibility if you give them something to be responsible for. They may make mistakes, but encourage them and talk to them. They are a lot smarter than we give them credit for and are more likely to follow the rules and guidelines if you set them in a manner that you’d follow as an adult. Giving kids a phone is good in modern times to me whether for safety or learning purposes. I wish I had one growing up. It would have saved me from my traumatic experience of being lost in a huge theme park.

jeremy mclaughlin July 31, 2016 - 12:08 pm

Have a discussion about safety.

Douglas Houston July 31, 2016 - 12:45 pm

Get their social media passwords or no phone

Will G July 31, 2016 - 12:48 pm

Make sure they buy them a good case so they don’t crack the screen.

doug gerard July 31, 2016 - 12:55 pm

make sure it’s water-proof!

Arshi July 31, 2016 - 2:05 pm

I would definitely put parental controls on it, and take it away when they go to sleep.

Debra Hall July 31, 2016 - 3:55 pm

well age is a big factor

Dana July 31, 2016 - 4:30 pm

Make sure you put limits on data to avoid overages.

Gracie Kahl July 31, 2016 - 4:41 pm

I think parents need to have serious conversations with their kids about proper texting and Internet etiquette.

Valencia July 31, 2016 - 5:17 pm

I think parents should buy a basic starter phone. Nothing too fancy or expensive.

Kimberly Bryant July 31, 2016 - 5:46 pm

I would explain that they can only communicate with people we know, the limits of data and texting usage, what is appropriate as far as pictures taken and receiving, and that they will be monitored.

Stephen D July 31, 2016 - 7:03 pm

Kids don’t need phones.

Jeanne Rousseau July 31, 2016 - 7:43 pm

I would say buy a basic phone, not a smartphone. Something that just has talk on it so that they can use it for emergencies.

Saegan Anderson July 31, 2016 - 8:18 pm

be careful about how they interact on social media

Paul Gardner July 31, 2016 - 8:55 pm

tell them you will look whats on their phones at any time even if they have a passoword!

JessO July 31, 2016 - 9:06 pm

I would tell them that a smart phone is a great idea. As long as you occasionally monitor to make sure that they aren’t using it for no good, it is a great way to keep tabs, and a great educational tool.

Brittney House July 31, 2016 - 9:19 pm

I would say that you should keep track and monitor their activities on the phone.

Jason Vaughn July 31, 2016 - 10:53 pm

Start them on a flip phone and make sure they know you’re going to be checking it.

TerriAnn August 1, 2016 - 2:22 pm

Can you still get those?

kittyfrog August 14, 2016 - 6:44 pm

Yes. Walmart has like six varieties with different prepaid plans. Target does too.

Rosey August 1, 2016 - 5:36 am

Advice I’d give is phones don’t go in the bedroom at night when the kids do. Period. Ever. It’s too tempting for them to be up chatting insead of getting the rest they need.

Nedra Whittemore August 1, 2016 - 7:48 am

Limit their use and monitor their phones regularly.

Karen Behrman August 1, 2016 - 9:25 am

Monitor all usage and know all passwords, set time limits

Jeanna August 1, 2016 - 10:48 am

Make sure you sit down with them & teach them about data usage along with being able to go through their phone at any time!

Tiffany S August 1, 2016 - 10:49 am

Make sure to monitor what they are doing on their phone.

Christina Moore August 1, 2016 - 10:54 am

I would start with a basic starter phone, and be aware of what they are doing

Deb Ford August 1, 2016 - 2:50 pm

Set up a family charging station in a common living area and require that all electronics charge over night – no cell phones in the bedrooms over night

Ellie Wright August 1, 2016 - 4:16 pm

I would make sure they are responsible enough first to keep up with a phone and not lose it. Then it would be used only to talk to family and for schoolwork, until they are older. My grandson is 11 and has had a phone for 2 years. They use them in class for some school work here. He’s been amazingly responsible with it.

Teresa August 1, 2016 - 5:50 pm

I’d teach them how to take care of it, including using a case and a screen protector.

shannon fowler August 1, 2016 - 9:58 pm

always monitor activities. there is just too much out there now, and even if you have a great kid they can end up on sites or reading things you’d rather them not see

Liberty August 1, 2016 - 10:23 pm

Giving a non-smartphone until they know how to use the internet responsibly.

katherine August 2, 2016 - 4:45 am

This is a privilege not a right and if you abuse you will lose and I will look at your phone at any time and any place

Rena Walter August 2, 2016 - 8:19 am

Children should not have them.

Lauren August 2, 2016 - 9:20 am

I would make sure you have access to their accounts.

Tarah August 2, 2016 - 11:09 am

These are great suggestions – I haven’t had to deal with this yet, my kids are still too young to have cell phones. But I would think I’d want to monitor what they’re accessing online/texts.

Barbara M August 2, 2016 - 12:22 pm

The big thing is the adult or guardian of the child must have full access to the phone, particularly once they hit the teen years. lol My grandson is only 8 but I’ve already thought about getting him a phone since he is finally allowed to walk by himself to his friend’s house to play. The world is a much different place than when I was a child. And that scares me.

Ashley Darity August 2, 2016 - 3:55 pm

Make sure they are responsible and monitor what they do

Kathy Tracey August 2, 2016 - 5:08 pm

My advice would to let them not the you will be montoring their use. I personal would account id and passwords for any social media they might sign up for.

Elena August 3, 2016 - 10:05 am

My advice is to get the cheap phone for your kid without data plan. The one that they will only use for emergency

DeAnna Keller August 3, 2016 - 10:17 am

I would recommend having them collect the phones before bedtime because they won’t stay up all night on the phone, especially on a school night.

carol clark August 3, 2016 - 10:21 am

make sure you have anti virsus software and parental control

Kimberly Kihega August 3, 2016 - 3:03 pm

My advice is to make sure they are first responsible enough for one. And, as a first phone, get one that is not to expensive and without internet access unless you think they can handle online safety rules.

Danielle S. August 3, 2016 - 3:30 pm

I homeschooled my children. They did not need a phone until they started college, and that was only for emergencies. They never learned to lean on a phone until they started working.

TerriAnn August 3, 2016 - 5:44 pm

I homeschool my daughter too. For us, though, she started having activities and extra classes through the city rec dept. So she needed a phone at 10 years old. So good your kids could hold off until they were older though! I hate seeing young ones so dependent on their phones and lacking communication skills!

Angela Amenta August 3, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Start with a really basic phone to only use for calls and texting .. nothing fancy. If you decide on fancier you should be checking their phone and monitoring their posts often.

Laura August 3, 2016 - 3:46 pm

I would say to get a phone that is very durable and can withstand a lot. Parental controls are also very useful!

Mira August 3, 2016 - 7:29 pm

Children under 12 can make do with borrowing a family phone when they will need to make a phone call. For older children, parents could set a good example by not being on their phones all the time. Fat chance.

Patricia Wojnar Crowley August 3, 2016 - 8:04 pm

I would say not to spend a lot of money on their first phone….and limit its use to phone calls and texts to approved people.

Charles D August 3, 2016 - 9:04 pm

Buy whatever insurance your carrier sells. The kids will take the case off and the screen will crack eventually. Then they’ll take your upgrade because you’re “Fine with my iPhone 5s, it does everything I need it to do” and a year later that 5s is not fine. Also get your arguments lined up ahead of time because that iPhone 7 you get them won’t be good enough when the 7s comes out because it comes in a different color and “All my friends have one!” I used to work for a wireless carrier in sales and saw examples like these all the time. Also ask your sales rep. about ways to manage your kids data and don’t rant at the rep. because your bill is always to high from data overages from your kids using Snapchat or Pokemon Go or whatever is the trend at the time.

Kristin G August 4, 2016 - 6:39 am

I would tell them to make sure they only give them a phone if it’s necessary. They need to understand the security risks and responsibility that a phone comes with. Kids should be mature enough to handle all of that.

Misty A August 4, 2016 - 10:15 am

Wait until they understand how to properly use all of the functions of the phone you purchase. Just purchase a basic phone for the first phone to see if they are mature enough to use a cellphone properly. Take the phone at night & monitor what they are doing.

Holly P August 4, 2016 - 11:29 am

There are so many educational apps on the market, so I would encourage parents to pre-load their children’s phones with a couple to start off with. From language learning to coding, there’s so many possibilities, and if they’re going to be using the smartphone already, they might as well be learning something of value at the same time. =)

Elle August 4, 2016 - 1:01 pm

Make sure the parents have access to whatever the kids do on the phones and make sure the child knows that is the case and that having a phone is a privilege, not a right.

natasha lamoreux August 4, 2016 - 1:01 pm

I would suggest a phone that can call and text. No need for data usage.

violet taylor August 4, 2016 - 1:32 pm

disable any ability to buy things!@!!!

tammy shelton August 4, 2016 - 3:25 pm

I would advise to not worry about it…it’s really not that big of a deal.

william parker August 6, 2016 - 3:48 pm

Make sure the phone you purchase for your teenager can be set to “lock” after 10pm. A password is required to engage the phone and this helps with studying or sleeping!

Birdiebee August 6, 2016 - 6:08 pm

My advice is monitor what they are doing on their phone.

denice p August 6, 2016 - 7:56 pm

my advice would be to monitor who it that they are keeping in contact with. I think a parent should know who calls their child.

Faye Gates August 7, 2016 - 5:01 am

Don’t blast on social media if you are alone at home.

DAWNG August 7, 2016 - 2:49 pm

Explain data usage.

Stefanie G August 7, 2016 - 4:48 pm

I would talk to them about what can happen on the internet and about privacy!

Susan Smith August 8, 2016 - 2:42 pm

I would suggest they buy a basic phone, not a smartphone, so they can’t text or go online.

Kyl Neusch August 8, 2016 - 5:31 pm

Monitor their social media

Aubrey August 8, 2016 - 6:06 pm

My advice is not to allow access to the internet.

Tabathia B August 8, 2016 - 7:10 pm

Make sure they understand you have to approve who they give the number to, have complete access to their phone and limit their internet access and monitor their texting and internet usage

Cara Kirkland August 9, 2016 - 10:06 am

Limit their talk time and monitor their usage.

Samantha Daleo August 9, 2016 - 11:13 am

Make sure that they have limited minutes and data and a parental password needed for questionable content.

Allison CB August 9, 2016 - 1:48 pm

I gave my kids pay as you go phones. When they had used up their minutes they didn’t get anymore until the next month. Taught them to be thrifty when talking and texting!

Breanne August 9, 2016 - 4:13 pm

Limit their use

Rhonda McElveen August 9, 2016 - 9:51 pm

I agree about limiting their use. You can do so much on the phones nowadays.

Jeff K August 10, 2016 - 7:02 am

Only if they prove they are responsible enough to own a phone

Ali Celestino August 10, 2016 - 9:54 pm

My advice would be to teach them safety and use parental controls.

neiddy August 10, 2016 - 10:09 pm

My advice is to monitor their phone usage. do surprise checks and control what apps they are using

Betty C August 10, 2016 - 10:51 pm

All the above suggestions are excellent. I often used written contracts to emphasize the importance of our agreements. When they sign the agreement that you can monitor their actions and take away the phone when necessary it makes it more real than just a conversation.

Tina W August 11, 2016 - 3:30 am

Start with a simple phone and have an understanding that nothing on it is private, the parent should have all the passwords.

Trisha Burgess August 11, 2016 - 7:19 am

My advice is be aware and use parental blocks!

MommyWithTwins7 August 11, 2016 - 8:06 am

I would tell them that they may not erase messages and that mom and dad can check to see if they have. Limit their time of usage and make sure to use parental controls.

Jet August 11, 2016 - 8:14 am

I will teach him to be very mindful on what he says/writes/post online coz he never knows how it will affect him or others from the moment he did it all the way to his future.

Trinh Quinonez August 11, 2016 - 10:00 am

I would track the phone and block adult pages on the phone.

Holly Thomas August 11, 2016 - 10:16 am

Make sure they are responsible and mature enough!

Rachel Freer August 11, 2016 - 10:59 am

No matter which phone you choose make sure you invest in a tracking app. I didn’t at first and lived to regret it. Now I know what he is doing on his phone at all times.

Trisha McKee August 11, 2016 - 12:05 pm

Please monitor your child’s activities on the phone. This is not a diary, you can be very present when it comes to monitoring electronics. So many parents feel it is a privacy issue.

Erica B. August 11, 2016 - 6:31 pm

Only get them a phone if you know they will listen to your rules about it. Be strict and set limitations.

Jenn August 12, 2016 - 10:19 am

My advice is to know your kids, and to give it a lot of thought before buying the phone. Are they ready? Can they handle the rules without it bring new drama into their life. Also, I would advice very close motoring during the first year.

susan August 12, 2016 - 10:32 am

I am at the point where I am looking for the advice… My daughter is just at the age and I want to get her a phone, but I don’t want her to become obsessed with it, like some of her friends are.

Nataly Carbonell August 12, 2016 - 2:04 pm

Make sure they know how to use it properly and educate them on how to be safe while using it.

susan smoaks August 12, 2016 - 3:45 pm

my advice is to check all the texts and calls and data they use. give them a good talking to about what is okay and what is not but also check everything.

Melissa Teears August 12, 2016 - 4:58 pm

I would tell them to review if there is a need like being home after school by themselves and are they responsible

Grant D August 12, 2016 - 5:46 pm

Make sure you get software to block sites you dont want them on

Stevi August 12, 2016 - 5:49 pm

A tip is to get a very durable outter box case for it! 🙂

Allyson becker August 13, 2016 - 12:05 am

They need to know about limits with data use because the bill will be large if they don’t learn.

Robin August 13, 2016 - 4:59 am

I would set limits on their texting on the plan.

Jovan B. August 13, 2016 - 7:51 am

I’d make sure there were certain times the child couldn’t use the phone like during dinner and family time.

Patricia E. August 13, 2016 - 8:04 am

I would have them evaluate whether the child actually needs it or not, than get a phone that is reasonably price and do not be afraid to hurt your child’s feelings by checking their phone often.

Leslie Rathbun August 13, 2016 - 8:09 am

To have good phone manners

MichelleS August 13, 2016 - 8:34 am

Parental control and make the child give you the phone before bed so they’re not wracked with trying to lose sleep overnight; while some can argue parents should trust their kids- you can’t trust other people. I think it’s more so the children who need a lesson in tech and what to post and not post, REPORT adults using fake accounts/trying to lure kids/send nasty pictures, don’t share your location.

Sarah Cool August 13, 2016 - 12:13 pm

If you are going to allow them to text then get unlimited texting or your bill will be ridiculous!

GB August 13, 2016 - 1:43 pm

My advice is to go over the numbers on the phone bill as well as the texts and make sure you know everyone that your child speaks to.

Jennifer J August 13, 2016 - 2:54 pm

My advice would be to program only the phone numbers you want them to call and explain to them that they are not to call anybody that is not on their contact list, or to accept a call or text from anyone not on their list. I would let them know that I will be checking their phone as often as I deem nessecary and there will be consequences if the phone is misused in any way. Thanks!!

claire August 13, 2016 - 4:43 pm

To not get it wet lol!

shawna August 13, 2016 - 7:42 pm

My advice is to take it away at bed time.

Tara Woods August 13, 2016 - 7:50 pm

My advice would be to enable parental controls for younger children.

Jennifer Vega August 13, 2016 - 8:35 pm

Just because all their friends have one doesn’t mean they need one….it’s okay to wait!

Danielle Wood August 13, 2016 - 9:08 pm

Set boundaries with your child, talk about the dangers of social media and turn on parental controls. Also make sure you put a password on the google play store or apple itunes before your bill is outrageous!

allyson tice August 13, 2016 - 9:37 pm

i would have them set the parent controls via the ap thru your provider. no social media on your phone and limit the hours they use it.

Cyndi br August 13, 2016 - 9:43 pm

My advise would be Not to answer unknown numbers.

MaryAnn August 13, 2016 - 10:12 pm

I would make them turn the phone in by a certain time each night so they don’t stay up late on the phone and not get sleep.

Karen Deva August 14, 2016 - 3:24 am

It is worth paying a small monthly fee to monitor your child’s activities on their phone. I like being able to see who my son texted and called and who texted and called him. You can also block certain numbers and set the phone so that calls and texts can’t be sent during certain hours of the day (like during school or late at night!).

Crystal F August 14, 2016 - 5:49 am

My first bit of advice would be to get a good case for it. Kids are clumsy and drop things. Also monitor what they are doing on the phone. They need you to trust them but that only goes so far.

cynthia dawson August 14, 2016 - 5:50 am

Keep rack of what you child does on social media

Daniel G. August 14, 2016 - 8:35 am

Install tracking and mirroring apps

Alice C August 14, 2016 - 8:59 am

Keep track of everything there do. It’s just like a computer accesss to everything.
There are aps for that

erin m August 14, 2016 - 9:36 am

always know your child’s passwords and approve any apps they want to add

Denise W August 14, 2016 - 10:49 am

I would set limitations on time and use. I would never give them a credit card to make purchases with. I think that children are targets for products they do not need more so than adults. They have yet to learn the discernment required to handle this problem well.

Peggy Rydzewski August 14, 2016 - 11:37 am

I am thinking about getting one for my 9 year grandson and I am reading up on all the tips to keep him safe

Darlene Cruz August 14, 2016 - 12:40 pm

Limit time use, no social media

JaneW August 14, 2016 - 12:59 pm

Make sure you monitor what your child is doing with their phone, including who they are talking to and which apps they are using.

Doge August 14, 2016 - 2:38 pm

Children should first learn about the dangers of sketchy apps as well as basic online safety. They need to be conscious of their phone’s data usage and understand that the phone is a privilege that can be taken away at any time. Parents should always set parental controls and approve apps first.

Yona Williams August 14, 2016 - 2:54 pm

My advice would be don’t give into pressure from the kids…if you don’t feel right getting them a phone…don’t. Every kid has a different maturity level.

Laurie Nykaza August 14, 2016 - 2:57 pm

Give the child limits to what they can do with the phone but its good in emergency’s to have one

Carolyn Daley August 14, 2016 - 3:17 pm

Teach them about responsibility, limit and/or monitor their usage, and make sure they have all emergency contact numbers including work numbers.

Jaime Cummings August 14, 2016 - 3:54 pm

I would check the phone on a daily basis, monitor texts and parental controls, website histories, photos, and more. You can never be too safe.

elizabeth miller August 14, 2016 - 4:10 pm

After 3 kids in their 20’s that we went through the cell phone issues with when plans were way more expensive and did not have the unlimited options, we also have an 11 year old who just got her first phone. First, we registered with our company for the parental control plan so her data, times, etc are set without arguments. We also have it so we can view what she has done in a day. Honestly, she has been extremely responsible with it and we have not had any problems or arguments. She has not even come near to what her limits are on the phone and she got it in December. We also have an internet block to watch for inappropriate things on her phone. She was given very strict rules about having it in reference to when it may be on and must be off and she has followed them to a t. The main thing is set rules and limits and hold to them. By having the parental control, you really do not get unwanted surprises come bill time and it eliminates the needs for arguments. The first few months, the control feature actually allows them to become aware of just how fast they can blow through minutes, date, etc that they otherwise would have had to learn the hard way.

Rosalind Gutierrez August 14, 2016 - 4:25 pm

I would set up parental controls for security & teach phone etiquette

Carol August 14, 2016 - 5:48 pm

Limit the amount of times they spend playing games

Gabrielly August 14, 2016 - 6:04 pm

Make sure you know you will monitor their activities

Amy Deeter August 14, 2016 - 6:08 pm

There are parental control apps available for all phones, and iphone have built-in parental controls that can be enabled

Kathryn C August 14, 2016 - 6:40 pm

definitely monitor! and make it a an electronic free zone for certain times at home (like at dinner time!)

Pamela Curry August 14, 2016 - 6:41 pm

This is why I wanted cats and not kids, seriously. No phones until after high school…how unpopular can I get

kittyfrog August 14, 2016 - 6:42 pm

No child needs a smartphone. Seriously. I had a nokia with a broken screen, so I dialed my parents numbers from memory. It was all I or any other latch key kid needs. Why on earth would a 10 year or need a smartphone? Get them a cheap prepaid flip phone.

Cheryl Chervitz August 14, 2016 - 7:29 pm

I would tell them to monitor everything they are doing on the phone. Also to know who they are talking to.

Dana Matthews August 14, 2016 - 7:43 pm

My advice would be to truly consider the age of the child. Are they mature enough to be aware of the dangers that come with not using a cell phone wisely. After that, monitor their use. You are NOT invading their privacy…until they are grown parents are responsible for them and needs to know everything they are doing.

Leah Shumack August 14, 2016 - 8:10 pm

I am the mom who is starting to look at this information! I think my daughter is too young and doesn’t quite show responsibility in taking care of her own phone just yet but she’s asking as some of her friends have phones already (they are all 10!) I monitor her tablet/computer time now and would do the same thing and definitely no phone in the bedroom after bedtime!

TerriAnn August 15, 2016 - 11:18 am

Maybe it would help to set some conditions. We used to have our daughter carry a little purse (with not very important stuff inside). When she stopped forgetting it everywhere, that was one step closer to her having a phone 😛 We also weighed if she needed it or not and if she showed responsibility in using our phones. We made sure she understood that it is an extra expense and that, ultimately, it’s still our phone and we’re letting her use it (if she got her own). The whole “if your friends jumped off a bridge” saying is irritating but they do get the point if it’s just peer pressure.

Julie M August 14, 2016 - 8:18 pm

Limit their use and make sure you know how their phone works.

Heidi M. August 14, 2016 - 8:20 pm

I would say invest in a good protective phone case, monitor their phone activity, and limit time spent on gaming apps.

Keri justice August 14, 2016 - 8:29 pm

Honestly I’m not sure other the. To set some limits of use. My kids don’t have phones yet.

Sarah L August 14, 2016 - 8:42 pm

Teach them how to be safe on the internet.
Thanks for the contest.

Sand August 14, 2016 - 8:52 pm

Pay attention to apps and what they post.

Leela August 14, 2016 - 8:55 pm

Make sure they’re mature enough for it first.

Michelle Ward August 14, 2016 - 9:08 pm

First know that your child is responsible and trustworthy enough to have a phone. If there is Internet make sure you have set all settings to block adult content.

AEKZ2 August 14, 2016 - 9:36 pm

I don’t have any advice because my 12 year old and 10 year old do not have phones. I’m the one that needs advice!

TerriAnn August 15, 2016 - 11:14 am

Haha! Well, that Sprint site has a lot of great info. You can also check the post I wrote that’s linked at the top of article or check the comments here. Some readers have left some fabulous tips!

Lily Kwan August 14, 2016 - 11:26 pm

I would advise them to consider the age of the child and monitor phone usage carefully.

Aaron August 14, 2016 - 11:27 pm

I would advise them not to give children phones; maybe a pre-paid ‘burner’ (is that the word?) to use only in emergencies.

Rajee Pandi August 14, 2016 - 11:39 pm

Limie their time and activities

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