Tips for parentsSmartphone to start school - a good idea?

"But everyone else has one too!" - this argument is probably well known to parents. But how old should children be when they get their first cell phone? Many parents use the change from elementary to secondary school to equip their children with their own smartphone. How can parents tell if their child is ready for their own smartphone? And is a smartwatch a good alternative? We answer the most important questions parents have about smartphones in children's hands.

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.

In the video series "mobil & safe", together with, we provide information in ten videos on how to set smartphones securely. There are also tips on the correct settings in various apps and messengers.

What rules about the smartphone are important?

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.

The 68-page brochure "Smart mobile? " is aimed at parents who want to support their child's smartphone use. The brochure is available for download or to order in print.

With the Flyer for the media usage contract families can individually determine which media may be used when and for how long. The flyer is available for download or as a print version for ordering.

Are smartwatches a good alternative?

Some parents are not sure whether their child is ready for their own smartphone. In this case, a smartwatch can 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. There are now also some models that are marketed specifically to children (or their parents). Parents can set up these devices individually. For example, they can decide which numbers their child is allowed to call.

Whether a smartwatch is a sensible alternative also depends on why the child wants a smartphone. Nowadays, a smartphone is much more than just a communication device. Without a smartphone, I miss out on what happens in the class chat. I can't have a say when it comes to 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 fulfill in their child's life. You can then consider whether a smartwatch offers a sensible alternative.

One critical aspect 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 their child is or which route they have taken. In our Smartwatch topic we provide detailed information on what parents should consider when equipping their child with a smartwatch.