Advice for getting a child that first phone


Listen to Larry’s one-minute CBS News segment on that first phone

By Larry Magid

As school gets underway, a lot of parents are considering buying their child a phone. That could be a good idea, especially for parents who want to be able to reach their child after school or even track their child’s location as I describe in this post, with the caution that you never do so in stealth mode.

CNET’s Maggie Reardon put together an excellent post on this subject, including the advice that “Cheaper is better. Kids lose and break stuff all the time, so why on Earth would you spend $700 (or more) on a brand-new phone from Apple or Samsung?” Consider instead a hand-me-down or one of the many cheap Android phones or even a really cheap “feature phone. ”

Reardon also advises that parents sign a contract with their child. ConnectSafely.org, has a Family Contract for Smartphone Use that includes a pledge for kids, teens and parents. The parents have to pledge to “be a good role model” when it comes to how they use their phone in the car and at the dinner table.

ConnectSafely has also published A Parents Guide to Mobile Phones, with extensive advice on all aspects of the safe and appropriate use of phones by children and teens.