There will be lots of smartphones under Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes this year, but if you plan to get one for a teen or pre-teen, consider first having “that talk” with your child. By “talk,” I don’t mean the birds and bees, I mean a conversation about smartphone safety, privacy and security.
A while back I wrote “10 Rules for Safe Family Cell Phone Use, which starts with a conversation and includes talking with your kids about the proper use of apps, especially those that are location aware. It’s also important to make sure kids understand when it’s not OK to use their phone (including meals and bedtime) and how to use it politely. And because phones can be used for social media, web surfing and email, the same rules that apply to computer use, apply to phones too.
Kids also need to be aware that phones cost money to buy and use and especially replace if they’re lost stolen or broken and it’s especially important to have a conversation about smartphone security, including use of personal .ID numbers or passwords to protect their phones.
Consider signing a contract with your child to set the ground rules for cell phone use.
Click below for Larry’s CBS News Holiday Tech Talk segment on kids and mobile phones