Giving your child their first cell phone can be exciting and let’s face it, a little scary.
A shiny new device comes with all kinds of bells and whistles to explore, but it can also present new risks.
Teach your child how to use the device safely by following these tips:
• Set clear expectations: Explain what it can be used for, and when they should turn it off. Review school policies. If it’s acceptable that they message friends, set limits on when they should stop in the evenings. Remind them that having a cell phone means taking responsibility.
• Know how to use the device yourself: Discover its features together. Make sure you’re aware of its service plan and any limitations. Ensure your child uses a password or code to protect the device from any unwanted use.
• Inform your child about the risks of downloading apps and files: Talk to your child about what apps interest them and what kinds of files they might download. Discuss whether they need your permission first to download, and talk about what kinds of risks they could face.
• Talk about safety and the unknown: Inform your child about the risks of opening emails or texts from senders they don’t know, or what to do if a stranger contacts them. Discuss different scenarios and possible reactions. For example, if they get a text saying they should follow a link to collect a prize, tell your child to simply delete the message.
• Keep the lines of communication open: Talk to your child about how they are using their phone. Encourage them to ask you questions about anything they are unsure about.
Protect while you connect. More information is available online at GetCyberSafe.ca.