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Advice on smartphone usage for preteens

(15 Posts)
FiveStar Tue 05-Dec-17 11:53:45

Our children will shortly start commuting to school by train and to help us coordinate logistics of where everyone is, they will be getting phones for Christmas. They are all aged around 10 to 12.

I am looking for helpful advice on:

- what rules you set on your kids' phone usage,
- what rules you wish you had set at the outset
- what you learned that you wish you had known before they had phones
- useful apps etc
- apps to avoid or approach with caution
- good habits to encourage/ bad habits to avoid
- safety advice
- anything else constructive!

Many thanks in advance

mumzuki Mon 01-Jan-18 17:22:35

Honestly, I wouldn't get them smart phones. Cheap old-school pay as you go mobiles, no apps. You can keep in touch with them; they don't need the rest.

mumzuki Mon 01-Jan-18 17:23:32

Sorry, I have just registered that Christmas is past, so my reply is pointless...

NorthernSpirit Tue 02-Jan-18 17:04:59

Above posters advice is good. Children don’t ‘need’ smart phones, they need the ability to ring you. We all managed ok without them when we were kids.

My OH bought his daughter (my DSD) a smart phone for her 11th birthday with the understanding that she would text or phone him (her mother restricts contact and calls.... another story). It’s like pulling teeth trying to get her to call, strange as she’s glued to it most of the time!

This Christmas has proven what a mistake it was to give her a smart phone (I would give them just a basic phone). She is totally obsessed by the phone, never off it and obsessed by taking pouting selfies.

Rules we’ve instigated - no phones in bedrooms. A phone amnesty (for us all when we get in the house) - all phones left on the side. No phones at dinner / at restaurant tables, no phones in the car (there’s been 2 vomiting incidents due to her using the phone screen in the car). No social media (that was from us - by law you have to be 13 to have FB, Snapchat, Instagram accounts in the UK - she’s lied about her age and mum says it’s ok..... out of our control).

My advice would be to remind them that it’s a want not a need.

EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Wed 03-Jan-18 20:24:07

Definitely no phones in bedrooms at night. If they have iPhones, the account needs to be a Children’s accoubt so you have to give permission for am6 apps they download.

Have you set up a credit limit too? One of my DFs had a nasty shock when she bought her DD her first phone. The first bill came in at over £300.

EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Wed 03-Jan-18 20:24:35

*account

SnapesTears Wed 03-Jan-18 22:34:16

My 12 year olds have both got old iPhones (hand me downs). They don’t have contracts as I don’t want to be tied in to paying them if they lose or break their phones.

Their Apple IDs are connected to mine so I have to authorise with a password any apps they want to download or any purchases they want to make.

They take their phones to school but can only use them at break times or they risk detention and it being confiscated.

I have found that the amount of time they spend on their phones when they get home from school is creeping up and it concerns me also how it affects their mood and behaviour so I will be implementing some rules similar to the above. I do regret giving them smart phones actually...

NewAndOld Sun 07-Jan-18 07:47:44

We have 14yr &12yr boys and two younger daughters. The 2nd boy is currently sobbing, and I mean truly uncontrollably sobbing in his bedroom because we haven't given access this morning. Both boys change into monsters when we stop access. I am very very scared - they are like heroin addicts on withdrawal.

They are prepared to do anything to get access and become hysterical when they can't. Usage has crept up and up continuously. Things are gonna change in this household.

Exercise extreme caution!

NorthernSpirit Sun 07-Jan-18 09:17:56

@NewAndOld - that’s really worrying, but it sounds like you are getting things under control.

I do think phones are becoming an addiction for many. It’s so sad looking around restaurants and no one is talking to each other as they are too busy on phones, or people walking down the street like zombies because they are so engrossed in a screen. I find it sad.

Interesting article:

www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/child-smart-phones-cocaine-addiction-expert-mandy-saligari-harley-street-charter-clinic-technology-a7777941.html

NewAndOld Sun 07-Jan-18 11:38:16

@ NorthernSpirit

Worrying indeed - But listen to this (said in best Catherine Tate impression):

By brother's oldest child (13) has spent hundreds of pounds (his own and his parents money) on Minecraft etc - including buying user profiles etc - they've had daily running battles trying to engage with him. They went into lock down and installed control software on all the childrens phones/tablets allowing instantaneous control and time limits on devices.

One night, the 13 year old, set his own alarm for 3am, crept into the parents bedroom, found his dad's phone, got through the security/passwords, accessed the control software and "took control of the control software". Where does it end????? The child has true life addiction problems. Their state of lock down has now become one of true physical lockdown grin

Believe me, we come from an old fashioned traditional family background so this has all hit us out of the blue.

somewhereovertherain Sun 07-Jan-18 11:49:05

For me it’s easy under 13 no phone. If for an emergency simple pay as you go.

NorthernSpirit Mon 08-Jan-18 09:17:53

@NewandOld - OMG......

I just find it so sad. I have a 12 year old DSD who isn’t developing the ability to mix and communicate because she’s wedded to a phone screen. My OH only sees the kids EOW and as soon as she walks through the door it’s ‘daddy can I play on the PC’? Er.... you haven’t seen your dad for 2 weeks maybe you would like to talk to him?

My DSS tells me that mummy and his sister don’t talk to him much at home as they are in their phones all night.

I think it’s sad and selfish.

So we’ve instigated a rule in our house. A phone amnesty - all phones on the side charging in the kitchen.

Colbu24 Thu 11-Jan-18 19:40:55

We gave our DS a iphone 5 to start secondary school.
We were afraid that he was going to be totally irresponsible but so far so good. He is 12 and I can’t say it’s a problem.
I do take it with me at night and he gets it back before school.
He isn’t in social media at all. I think you need to try and see how it goes.
Our DS its a very easy going boy so we don’t need a firm hand.

AveEldon Thu 11-Jan-18 19:49:53

www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9uydDEez3c

Think about what you are modelling with your phone usage
Check the apps they have and what they are using them for

For my younger ones I have deleted safari and you tube which has massively improved things

DigitalResilience Fri 02-Feb-18 18:33:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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