As children become teenagers they’ll want to be more independent, which often means owning a mobile phone and not always being in control of what they use it for. Initially just a means of a child to contact their parents and vice versa when needed, parents now need to carefully consider what type of mobile phone to buy for their teenager and what limitations they should place on such a phone. Below we discuss some of the safest mobile phone options for your teenager.
What type of phone?
With so many mobile phone options out there, it can be difficult for parents to know what is best for their child. Should they buy a contract phone? A Pay as you Go (PAYG)? Android or Apple? The choice is endless…
This is a pre-paid mobile phone system that allows you to ‘top up’ phone credit as and when needed. This is the easiest method of buying credit for your teenager’’s phone. It is also a great way to ensure that your teenager doesn’t run up a huge phone bill by the end of the month. The only downside is that if your teenager runs out of credit, then they can’t use the phone.
This option is great for those parents who wish to upgrade their current phone or if there’s an old phone lying around the house. When you go down the SIM only route you’ll make a one off payment that will include a set number of minutes, data and text allowance. Once used, it then changes to a PAYG. You will then need to top up the phone as and when needed. Broadband Choices has a wide range of handsets and SIM only phones to chose from.
This option allows parents to ‘top up’ their teenager’s phone every month. This tariff allows you to keep tabs on your child’s phone activity, with an itemised bill.
The beauty of all three of the above, is that if the phone is lost or stolen, you will not be saddled with still having to pay a costly mobile phone contract for a phone that is no longer being used.
Apple or Android?
One of the biggest decisions for those parents who wish to buy their child a smartphone, allowing them access to the Internet and social media sites, is whether to choose Apple or an Android phone. There are pros and cons to each mobile phone platform. If you want a phone that is relatively simple to operate, then Apple is your better option. This is also true if your child has an iPad, or if you are already an iPhone user, as you can sync accounts. For the younger child, many parents opt for an Android phone, as they are easier to navigate and hold. Both Android and Apple have the ability for parents to set up parental restrictions and to block access to the internet if needed.
Accessing the Internet
This is the one area that causes most anxiety for parents. If you buy a smartphone, then it will have access to the Internet, social media and pornographic sites. So how can you protect your child when they own a smartphone? How do you stop them viewing inappropriate content? It is important to understand that to access the Internet via a smartphone you need Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G. It is important to know that you can set age appropriate limits to what your teenager can see online. This applies to film, music, books, apps and websites. You can also block Wi-Fi access, but older children can easily bypass these restrictions if they know your pin code. Parental restrictions apply to both Android and IOS, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these settings before giving the phone to your child.
Social network sites
Another concern is social media, and mainly Facebook. It is important that your teenager’s account has strict profile settings, so that only family and close friends can see their profile. Children and teenagers also need to be educated on the safe use of social network sites.