Life Hacks

Make Your Kid’s
First Smartphone Experience
a Positive One

How to see your child's first smartphone as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship and build new trust.

Kids crave the freedom that a first smartphone represents. But parents know that with new freedoms come new dangers, and when it comes to a smartphone, it’s this tension between a kid’s desire to be independent and a parent’s desire to protect their child that can lead to secretiveness and lack of trust. The solution? Establish healthy communication patterns around smartphone use from the beginning. Here are some tips on the way to empower your kid’s first smartphone experience while also keeping them use responsibly.

Make their
first Samsung Galaxy an
eco-conscious option
Consider Trade in your old tech, or perform a factory reset on your last device and passing it on to your child.

Give up the idea of control

Here’s an all too common scenario: A parent gives their kid a smartphone, but it's treated as something that can be leveraged as a form of punishment and control. But this approach can encourage rebellious and secretive behaviors that won’t help keep kids safe online. It’s also counterproductive to the end goal of all parenting, which is to teach your kid how to be safe and self-sufficient when you’re not around.

Instead, why not view this smartphone as a tool that you need to teach your kid to use, not as something to punish them with? Agree upon an observation period of a few weeks or months where you will monitor their smartphone use only as much as is required to teach them to use it responsibly. For example, you might agree to being allowed to check their web history once a week for the first few months so you can talk about what kind of websites are dangerous.

The most important thing is for you and your kid to have an early conversation where you set mutual goals and show you respect their independence. That’s the first step towards establishing mutual smartphone trust.

Create a digital citizenship contract together

Every family should create a contract when a kid gets their first smartphone, but it doesn’t need to be intimidating or complicated. Instead, think of your family contract as a reason to discuss your hopes for all the good that can come out of your kid’s first smartphone.

Start by asking your kid what digital citizenship means to them, then share your own definitions. You can also ask your child how they plan to use their smartphone, then tell them what excites you about this milestone (“I can’t wait to be able to send you silly texts!”). Next, share your anxieties with each other: for example, your kid might worry that you’ll snoop on their texts, while you might wonder if your child will ignore your calls in an emergency. Then try to work together to figure out how these fears can be put to rest.

In the end, the contract you end up with will just reflect this conversation. The most important thing to remember is that whatever form the contract takes, it should be designed with reward in mind. After all, the most effective parenting techniques reinforce positive behaviours. Free ice cream for turning your phone off at 9pm every night, anyone?

Teach your kid to block cyberbullies early

An estimated 21% of all kids between the ages of 10 and 18 have experienced cyberbullying in one form or another. Unfortunately, the symptoms of being cyberbullied can look a lot like typical teenager behavior: withdrawal and secrecy, staying home sick from school and other sudden personality changes. That can make having a conversation about cyberbullying extremely difficult once it starts.

The solution is to start talking about it early, and teach your kid to never feed the trolls. Explain to your kids that being cyberbullied is something they should feel safe discussing with you. Promise you won’t take any action (for example, confronting a cyberbully’s parents on their behalf) without their permission. But also make sure they know that sometimes the most effective way to deal with cyberbullying is the simplest: if someone makes them feel uncomfortable online, they should block first and ask questions later.

Don't be a hypocrite

Whenever possible, model the smartphone use you'd like to teach. For example, if you want to encourage your kid to spend some screen-free time with the family, make sure you put your own phone in a different room. If you don’t want your kids to eat meals while scrolling through their feeds, make sure your own smartphone never makes an appearance during mealtime.

This can even extend as far as how you behave online and how you set limits for yourself. Call your kid over and show them examples of positive interactions you have on social media, so they see behaviour they can emulate. Likewise, if you expect them to only spend a certain number of hours per day on social media, show them how it’s done by setting limits on your usage under your Samsung Galaxy smartphone’s Digital Wellbeing settings.

New start. New you.

New Galaxy.

Every new beginning is better with Galaxy.

  • *Actual UX/UI may differ.
  • **Screen image simulated for illustrative purpose.

Empower your kids on their smartphone journey

And make sure they start on the right foot.

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