Is your child ready for a smartphone?

September 23, 2020
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In a technology-centered world, it’s hard to decide exactly when your child should get their first smartphone. You want to keep in touch with them, but also protect them from the dangers of the internet. Ty Ogunlesi, a wireless expert and general manager in northern Maryland, is facing the same dilemma with his family.

“I have a nine-year-old who wants a phone – badly,” Ty said. “You want to get them a phone you can help them with, but also protect them from.”

Luckily, Ty has years of experience on this subject, both from his own family and from helping families like yours find what’s best for their children.

“I know what they’re going through,” he said. “My biggest piece of advice is to not be afraid to try something. Most people are afraid to touch something if they don’t know how it works. Just write down any questions you have and call or visit me in store. I’ll always go out of my way to help the best I can.”

Before You Buy

Before you decide whether to get your child their first smartphone or not, there are some key points to consider first:

  • How responsible is your child? Will they follow the rules and guidelines you set for them?
  • Do they take care of their other tech, like tablets or school computers?
  • Do your kids need a way to stay in touch with you for safety reasons?

If you think your kiddo can handle the responsibility, wireless experts like Ty are ready to help you find the best – and safest – smartphone for them.

Kid-Friendly Smartphones

Just like you wouldn’t get your teen a convertible for their first car, you may not want to get your child the most expensive smartphone starting out. There are plenty of budget-friendly options to consider, like the LG Velvet, Google Pixel 4a, and the iPhone SE.

“Whatever you get, make sure it’s something you know how to use so you can have full control,” Ty recommended. “Things like Apple Screen Time or Google Family Link can help you set up parental controls, restrict Internet access, etc.”

Verizon Smart Family is another great app that allows you to keep an eye on your kid’s screen time, view their call and text history, and protect them from risky websites. For more ways to keep your family safe online, check out our blogs on how to monitor screen time for you and your family and promoting internet safety at home.

What if my child isn’t ready?

Getting your child a smartphone is a big step, and it’s okay if neither of you are ready yet.

“Your kids may not need a smartphone yet,” Ty said. “They might need something like the Verizon GizmoWatch instead until they’re ready for the full responsibility of a phone.”

The Verizon GizmoWatch is a smartwatch designed specifically with kids in mind, giving them independence while also keeping them safe. You can set GPS boundaries that notifies you when your child exceeds them, allow two-way voice calling and messaging for up to 10 trusted contacts, and set schedule reminders for them. The GizmoWatch also counts steps like a normal fitness tracker and is tough and waterproof, so it’s made to keep up with your kiddos.

No matter what you decide to get your kids, Cellular Sales can help. Just like Ty, our wireless experts are eager to help you find the best fit, set up parental controls, and anything in between. Just stop by your nearest location to get started.