If you’re here, you’re grappling with THE question.
“How do I give my kid their first smartphone?”
Maybe they came home after the school day and surprised you with the request. Maybe you’ve known that you need a way to stay in contact but it feels scary to hand them a cell phone and hope for the best.
Whatever your situation, you’re in the right place.
We encourage you to take a deep, calming breath and read on for the steps you’ll need to survive getting your kid a smartphone.
Step 1) DO talk about the risks of social media. DON’T avoid the conversation altogether.
Let’s be honest. Things will change once you allow your kid to have internet access and social media. They’ll encounter different ideas, make new connections, and expand their world outside the limits of their offline relationships. For better or worse (because social media isn’t all bad!), they’ll start learning and exploring on their own.
It’s useless to think otherwise and pretending social media won’t have an impact on your kid’s life can be downright harmful.
As you’re preparing to give them their first cellphone, sit down and have a very honest conversation about social media:
Ask them how much they know about the different social media platforms.
Show genuine curiosity about the apps that their friends use.
Talk over the dangers they might encounter like sextortion, cyberbullying, online predators, and harmful content.
The point of the conversation is NOT to scare them! The purpose is to get YOU involved. You need to be the one that introduces them to the kinds of things that can happen and talk about a response that involves you.
Skipping these difficult conversations will leave your kid feeling unsure about coming to you if anything bad happens to them on social media.
Step 2) DO give them the freedom to fall down. DON’T throw them into the deep end when they are first learning to swim.
Think about this for a second. Does taking a hands-off approach help our kids learn to use something correctly? Of course not! It’s the learning experience they go through with you that teaches them how to be responsible.
Is giving your kid a smartphone any different? It’s not!
The key is to build a secure foundation that your kid can fall back on.
Communicating clearly that you are a safe resource for them.
Encouraging them to come to you about anything.
Assuring them know you’re not there to punish or shame them if they accidentally make a mistake.
These kinds of conversations will cement your bond, increase their trust in you, and keep the connection you crave. But, the only way that is possible is to be involved in a non-judgmental and non-controlling way.
Step 3) DO choose a phone that gives you monitoring access. DON’T handcuff and limit them so that they can't learn and experience on their own.
As parents, we get it! Giving your child a smartphone is scary and it’s easy to react out of fear.
In the “healthy” parenting community, the most popular advice is to use parental controls like screen time limitation, extreme structure, and prevention by blocking certain apps and sites. Instead of helping your kid, these parental controls hurt them.
It's not about turning the cell phone off for certain hours of the day to keep them safe online.
Seeing the content they interact with
Knowing the context of where they see it and why they like it
Understanding the connections they make with people you know or complete strangers.
The less freedom your kid has to try and fail on social media, the less likely it is that they will be able to handle the pressures and freedom that the internet can offer. Yet, this doesn't mean you should be hands-off. You need to be informed about what is going on in case they need your guidance in a difficult situation.
That’s why we created Aqua One, a fully functional smartphone with unlimited parental monitoring capabilities.
For your kid, the Aqua One will function just like any other phone so they can explore the internet without feeling left out. For you, the unlimited monitoring will bridge the gap between what you think your kid is doing online versus what they’re actually doing. Every time your kid downloads a new app or watches a TikTok or even makes a Google search, you’ll be right there seeing it in real-time in your Activity Feed.
Rather than attempting to shield them from negative content and weakening that trust, you can leverage their time spent online as a tool to become closer and strengthen your relationship.
With the Aqua One, you’ll trade worrying about giving your kid their first phone for building stronger relationships and vital life skills that they need to succeed in the online world.
Ready to dive in?