How to teach your child to be a responsible smartphone user
According to reports, a young actress' smartphone was stolen and her private videos uploaded to the internet. Read this to know how you can prevent the same thing from happening to your child.
On July 10, 2015, a video containing sexually explicit content went viral across the nation. The video allegedly shows a 12-year-old award-winning Filipino actress performing sexual acts in different parts of her home.
The actress, as of press time, has not yet released a statement as to whether or not it was her in the video—though sources say that the video was leaked online after the actress' smartphone was stolen. Other reports say that a talent manager uploaded the video onto an online forum but did not name the actress.
Following the video scandal, today is the best time to sit down with your child and to talk to them about being responsible with their smartphone. Children need to be reminded that while smartphones are powerful tools for communication, they can also create pictures, videos, and texts that can be uploaded in an instant.
Here are some things that you should bring up with your child:
1. Remind them why they have the smartphone in the first place
Remind your child that the first and foremost reason why they have a smartphone is for you to keep in touch with them—be it during an emergency or on a day-to-day basis. Being able to download apps, use social media, and other reasons are privileges that can be taken away should you deem it necessary.
Click "Continue Reading" for more tips on kids and responsible smartphone use.
2. Set boundaries, then write it on paper
Talk to your child about how and why they use their smartphone. Then, from there, come up with a list of rules that allows them to continue to use it as they normally would—but within parameters that you set for them.
For example, if your child uses their phones to talk or to text their friends, you may want to consider getting prepaid lines and giving them a fixed budget for the month. This way, if they go over the month's budget, they'll have to shoulder the succeeding costs themselves.
This leads to why it is important to have all your rules written on paper and signed by you both: in the event your child goes over his budget and asks you for more credit, all you have to do is present your "contract" and show what you both agreed on. This ultimately teaches your child to ration their use and to keep their word.
3. Mom and Dad should have the passwords
While owning a smartphone gives your child a sense of independence, it is important that you remind them that it is a privilege and not a right. This is why you, as the parent, may check in from time to time, just to make sure that their smartphones have no questionable content or to see if there is anyone contacting them that you should be wary of.
You may or may not check your child's phone—that is up to you—but his knowing that mom and dad has their phones' passwords will make your child think twice about doing anything silly.
4. Talk to your child and listen without judgment
If going through your child's phones is not your cup of tea, then you may opt to ask them about their use: ask about whom they've talked to or texted, if any unfamiliar numbers have been contacting them, or you may ask about the type of photos they take and other details.
While they answer your questions, make sure that you keep the environment positive enough for your child to want to open up to you unabashedly. This exercise allows you to get an update on your child's phone use while strengthening your relationship and communication with them, as well.
You may respond with words of caution or praise, whichever is fitting for the situation.
Click "Continue Reading" for rules that kids with smartphones should follow.
If your child is one of the many children that own a smartphone, make sure you constantly remind him of the following rules. We suggest that you print this list out and place it somewhere he is sure to see it often:
Smart Rules for Smartphone Use
1. Never write a text message, take a photo, or take a video that you wouldn't want your parents to see.
2. Always ask permission before you take someone's photo. Always be sure to ask for their permission before you upload the photo to social media, as well.
3. If someone asks for a sexy photo or video of you—or sends you sexy photos of themselves—immediately inform an adult, or better yet, your parents.
4. Never broadcast or publicly share your cellphone number or location. If this information falls into the wrong hands, you may end up getting harassed or stalked.
5. Be wary and extra careful of numbers you don't recognize, people who want to be "textmates" and of strangers who want to meet up. If you find yourself being harassed or contacted by an unknown number, immediately inform an adult or your parents.
6. Do not download apps without your parent's permission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dana Santos
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