You want your kids to stand on their own two feet as they get older and giving them access to their first smartphone will give them a communication tool that they can learn to make good use of.
The problem for parents is that the window to the world that is their smartphone can be fraught with dangers and inappropriate material, which is why you want to try and find a happy medium and enjoy some peace of mind that your teen is not at risk in any way.
Here is a look at some apps that teens and parents should love in equal measure, including a way to watch over them when they are not at home, a smart way to protect their privacy and a tip on how to filter searches so they don’t access unsuitable content.
Practical parenting options for their smartphone
Even as your teen gains an increasing level of independence they could still do with watching over to ensure they stay safe and don’t get into any physical or emotional difficulties.
You want to know where they are at any time of the day and it is also appropriate to have an idea about their activity on social media and who they are exchanging text messages with.
A good way to do that without standing over their shoulder every minute of the day would be to load an app like TeenSafe on their phone.
Some kids might initially resist the idea of an app that allows their parents to monitor their online activity and see their location, but when it used sensibly and appropriately by kids and parents alike, it can provide the sort of safety backup that you need if they don’t return home on time, or are getting messages that aren’t appropriate.
It is also worth saying at this point that some teens can be emotionally vulnerable as they try to come to terms with their development. An app like the Coloring Book for Me and Mandala can potentially help them to take advantage of some CBT techniques and take their mind off any worries they might have.
Protecting sensitive data
Another good app to load onto their smartphone would be one that protects your teen’s data from being hacked and ensure that their security and privacy remain protected when they are using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
One the leading mobile security apps is Avast. It offers a number of protective features and as well as working in the background to keep their data safe from unwanted intrusion, it also offers a backup option and allows you to track the phone if it is lost or stolen.
Filter their searches
The odds are very high that your teen will be watching video content on their smartphone and they will almost certainly be regularly visiting YouTube, which is the go-to site for teens to find some funny videos and even upload content themselves.
It would be a good idea to enable restricted mode on the site so that your child doesn’t get the chance to view content that is not suitable for their age.
You want to encourage your teen to become confident and independent to a certain extent, but before you put that smartphone in their hand you might want to make sure that everything is in place to protect them.