Tips for parentsA smartphone under the Christmas tree?

Smartphones are coveted Christmas presents among children and teenagers. This raises many questions for parents: When is a child mature enough to have their own smartphone? Can the devices be set to be childproof? What rules should I set for my child? klicksafe offers lots of information and materials that answer these questions for parents.

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 the age to consider the child's stage of development.

Can smartphones be childproofed?

There is no such thing as complete protection against negative content and experiences when using a smartphone. Nevertheless, it is highly advisable to make use of all possible technical protective measures.

  • The klicksafe info sheet "Technical settings: Smartphone and tablet" provides parents with instructions on the most important parental control settings on devices with the iOS and Android operating systems.
  • In the video series "mobil & safe", together with, we provide information in ten videos on how to set up a smartphone correctly. There are also tips on the security settings of various apps.

What rules about the smartphone are important?

With a smartphone, children potentially have access to the entire internet. In addition to all the exciting and entertaining things, this also includes a whole range of harmful or dangerous content. Don't wait until the first problems arise. Talk to your children proactively about possible dangers and point out options for action.

Due to the wide range of risks(cybergrooming, cyberbullying, hate speech, fake news, shopping traps and much more), not all issues can be clarified in a single conversation. Instead, parents should be prepared to stay in constant communication with their child in order to actively monitor their online activities. To avoid constant discussions about smartphone use in families, rules drawn up jointly and at an early stage can help.

  • The klicksafe guide "Smart mobil?!" is aimed at parents who want to support their child with smartphone use. You can download the brochure or order a printed version.
  • The brochure "Using smartphones safely" provides comprehensive information on the safe use of smartphones. The brochure is currently only available as a download.
  • With the online media usage contract, families can individually determine which media may be used when and for how long. The corresponding flyer is available here.

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 often 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.