5 Important Questions before Giving your Child a Smart Device

Today’s post comes from guest blogger Reese Jones. Reese is an IOS and android fan who loves phones and print media. Reese writes regularly for Techie Doodlers. She is also a keen footballer (for those in the US, that mean soccer!) and has a passion for architecture.

kids and iphoneBased on Lookout’s 2012 data, 65% of parents believe that there’s no particular age when it’s best to provide a smart device. They think that age does not determine whether or not the child is responsible enough to own a gadget, but rather it’s the child’s maturity that counts. We understand that it can be a daunting task to gauge whether it’s the right time to give a tech devices to a child. So, for this article, we’ll provide you 5 questions commonly asked by parents before purchasing a smart device and our critical answers to your concerns.

1.       How do I keep my child safe?
With the rise in the number of teenagers using smartphones to access the internet, parents are concerned about their children’s security online. There are dangers, such as cyberbullying, that are a concern for their age group: experiences which could cause trauma to any child. To put your mind at ease, NBC News suggested that you install a parental control application. Security apps help you set limits on kids’ device usage, such as monitoring your child’s use of the internet and even remotely locking their phones for safety.

2.       Why does my child need a smart device?
As more schools implement Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) models, educators are utilizing smart devices to share with students information, such as e-books, educational apps and documents shared through the Cloud. Instead of hefty textbooks and notebooks, this gadget carries all of these educational tools in a lighter and more compact device. A simple cell phone doesn’t have all of the functionality of a smart device.

3.       Will my child follow my rules?
Children should be made aware of the rules both at home and in school before they receive their devices. If you want to set these rules as a clear agreement between you and your child, you can draft a responsibility contract that both of you must sign. Also, don’t forget to put a “penalty clause” in the contract that lets them know the consequences that they must face should they fail in keeping up with the agreement.

4.       Does my child understand social norms and etiquette regarding cellphone use in public?
Young users should be reminded of the basic courtesies regarding the usage of mobile gadgets in public places. Explain to them why they must keep their devices on silent or vibrate mode when in public places like theaters and restaurants (and especially in class!), and why they must keep their voice down when speaking on the phone in public places.

5.       Will the features of the device overwhelm my child?
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to get a new smart device for your child, you should also make sure that they can operate it flawlessly. Ask them to read the manual and ask you questions if they hit a stumbling block along the way. Also make sure that you know how to use the device…it might be a good opportunity to learn together! And finally, different devices have different levels of difficulty to use. Make sure you choose a device that is appropriate for the age level of your child.

These questions were designed to make the decision-making process easier. Remember that owning these devices comes with responsibility, which your child must understand. Do you have other concerns you’d like to discuss? Share them with us.


About karen mahon

i am a behavior and learning scientist. i hold an ed.d. in educational psychology and am trained as an instructional designer. i have spent more than 15 years working in education and instructional software design.
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3 Responses to 5 Important Questions before Giving your Child a Smart Device

  1. Pingback: 5 Important Questions before Giving your Child a Smart Device … | Smart Device

  2. Pingback: 5 Important Questions before Giving your Child a Smart Device | Balefire Labs

  3. Reblogged this on Framework 21 and commented:
    I’m always glad to find examples of people thinking critically about technology.

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