smartphone ready?

You can start with a watch or tracker, move on to a non-Smartphone and then eventually when your child has passed The Smartphone Readiness test, no earlier than the age of 14, you can give them a smartphone that has been set up in a way to be the least harmful to them.

Phone Contract

Before you give any new phone to your child we recommend giving it with boundaries and a contract and trial period. If they are not able to abide by the contract, they can lose the device.

Think about what is important to you as a family but here are some suggestions:

  • Your phone is not allowed in the bedroom
  • Your phone is not allowed at the dinner table
  • Your phone must be handed in to us before bed at 8pm
  • Your phone must be charged in the kitchen at night, ready for the next day
  • Your phone must be switched off as soon as you enter school and only turned on again when you are out of the school premises
  • Your phone will be checked by us every day, you may not have any passwords that we do not know
  • As a family we will have phone free outings where you will be asked to leave your phone at home
  • When we ask you to put your phone away, you will do so within 5 minutes

You could start off with a trial of a week and then extend the trial as your child is showing maturity or take it away and try again in a month.

When the point comes for your child to have their own smartphone, we recommend you take this Smartphone Readiness Quiz to make sure they, and you, are ready!

    Smartphone Readiness Quiz

    • Have you talked to your child about porn?
    • Have you talked to your child about grooming?
    • Have you talked to your child about privacy online?
    • Are they well aware of the dangers of smartphones?
    • Do they exhibit self control with other devices; iPads, TV, video games, etc.?
    • Do they openly communicate with you?
    • What are they like with other expensive items?
    • If the phone is lost or damaged, will it be replaced, if so, who will pay for it?

    These are not one and done conversations, these should be open and ongoing conversations that your child knows they come to you about anytime.

    If you are then at a point where you think it is the correct time, we do not recommend to do this before the age of 14, here are the steps you can take to set up the smartphone as safely as possible. 

    Please note that standard parental controls can be bypassed in minutes, giving access to offensive and sexual content.

    We also recommend you look at these steps to control your tech use.

    The brilliant Centre for Humane Tech have set up Youth Toolkits that we highly recommend here

    Setting up an Android phone in the safest possible way

    1. Remove access to the internet
    2. Disable the Google Play Store
    3. Set up screen time limits
    4. Set up parental controls at this point