Is my child old enough to have his or her own smartphone?
Many parents want a clear age statement as an answer to this question. However, it makes more sense than looking at age to consider the child's stage of development.
With the klicksafe checklist "Is my child fit for his or her own smartphone? "parents can check alone or together with their child whether he or she is ready for a smartphone or not.
How can I set smartphones to be childproof?
There is no complete protection against negative content and experiences when using smartphones. Nevertheless, it is highly advisable to exhaust the possibilities of technical protective measures.
The klicksafe info sheet "Technical settings: Smartphone and Tablet" gives parents a guide to the most important parental control settings on devices with the operating systems iOS and Android.
With a smartphone, children potentially have access to the entire Internet. However, in addition to all the exciting and entertaining things, this also includes a whole range of impairing or dangerous content. It doesn't make sense to wait until the first problems arise. Rather, parents can beproactive in talking about possible dangers and pointing out options for action. Due to the wide range of risks(cybergrooming, cyberbullying, hate speech, fake news and much more), not all issues can be addressed in a single conversation. Therefore, parents must be prepared to stay in a continuous exchange with the child to accompany online activities. To avoid constant discussions about smartphone use in families, jointly created rules can help. The following materials provide parents with further useful tips on this.
Some parents aren't sure if their child is ready for their own smartphone. In this case, a smartwatch may seem like a good middle ground. This is because, unlike smartphones, they do not offer comprehensive access to the Internet. Depending on the device, the functions are limited to making calls and writing messages. Meanwhile, there are also some models that are marketed specifically to children (or their parents). Parents can set up these devices individually. For example, they determine which numbers their child is allowed to call.
Whether a smartwatch is a sensible alternative also depends on why the child wants a smartphone. After all, a smartphone is far more than just a communication device these days. Without a smartphone, I miss out on what's happening in the class chat. I can't keep up with the latest mobile games. And last but not least, a smartphone is also a coveted status symbol. Parents should discuss with their children what purpose a smartphone should serve in the child's life. Afterwards, they can consider whether a smartwatch offers a sensible alternative for this purpose.
A critical point of smartwatches is that they allow parents to monitor their children. Smartwatches are usually equipped with a GPS tracker. This allows parents to see where the child is or the route it has taken. In our smartwatch topic we provide detailed information about what parents should consider when they want to equip their child with a smartwatch.