Giving your 9 to 12 year old a mobile phone, device or cell phone? Before you do, maybe you can consider if there is a need for a tween mobile device or tween cell phone contract between you and him or her first.
We know that it could be a necessity especially when your tween starts taking public transport, attending CCAs, enrichment classes and after-school activities. Smartphones can keep them connected and help us ensure their safety.
Considering a Mobile Phone or Device for Your Tween
Here are some important things to consider if you planning to pass your tween a mobile device.
1. Ability to moderate screentime
Children are generally not ready to manage their screentime. (Some would argue that that many adults may not be either).
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The brains of young digital natives can even get hooked on devices as the instant gratification stimulates dopamine. Adults also face this risk of getting glued to games, Social Media, videos and more, much less children. Limits are necessary to help our children cope.
2. Excessive screentime is detrimental to the well-being of children
When left unchecked, excessive screentime is detrimental to both the cognitive and physical development of children.
Research has shown that too much screentime can lead to impaired brain function with deficits in executive function such as impulse and emotion control, sustaining attention, following through instructions and persisting in hard tasks. Staying glued to the screen also prevents development of motor skills.
Get some ideas on screen-free activities to balance it all out!
3. Dangers online
Apart from inappropriate content such as porn, there are many dangers lurking as child are often just one swipe away from harmful content.
Top cybersafety issues that concerns many parents include encountering inappropriate content and oversharing information on social media, leading to encounters with the wrong crowd such as scammers or groomers.
What can parents do to safeguard their child’s usage of mobile devices?
Firstly, a parental control and monitoring app on devices is essential. Not only does it keep track of your child’s movements, it also tracks the usage of apps and blocks inappropriate content.
Examples of control apps include Google Family Link, Qustodio, Canopy and others.
Secondly, guide your child in using a mobile device responsibly and safely. If appropriate, use a mobile device contract to help you with the conversation.
Considering a Tween Mobile Device Contract
You can consider making use of a tween mobile device contract or a tween cell phone contract. This may help you to establish the boundaries and expectations between yourself and your tween as you entrust them with their own mobile device.
Of course, the tween mobile device contract is not meant to be strictly binding, but, if anything, it can help to spark off your own conversation between yourself and your tween as they get entrusted with their own mobile phone or device.
Download a copy of Little Day Out’s Tween Mobile Phone Contract here.