Mobile Phones For Kids
Giving your child a mobile phone seems a little crazy, but, according to the 2012 ABS Sensis, 818,500 children aged 5 to 14 years (29%) had a mobile phone- which means now 3 years later you are assured that the number of kids using mobile phones has increased substantially. If it seems shocking remember that mobile internet search has overtaken computer searches and many households are saying goodbye to landlines in favour of a home mobile. So what does this mean for you? Should you be giving your child or teen a mobile phone? Perhaps you see it as a safety precaution, a way for them to get in contact with you if they miss their bus, or are missing you at after school care. While you should check the school rules surrounding the possession and use of mobile devices this article is about to manage the situation when you decide it is time to give your child a mobile phone for their own personal use.
Start with a good solid foundation
The MoneySmart Teaching program has been developed by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) as a financial literacy resource for use in primary and secondary schools. The unit on mobile phone management for primary school students is an excellent on-line resource for parents whose children have mobiles phones.
The six mobile phone management topics are linked to the Australian National Curriculum. Each topic includes a short interactive video requiring responses to possible risk and cost scenarios. Each video will take a child approximately 15 mins to complete. Notes are provided for teachers and parents.
At the end of each topic activity, a summary is provided showing issues, concerns and suggestions based on the answers to activity questions.
The topics below target Years 5 and 6 but many parents of younger children with mobile phones will find the video question and answer approach equally useful.
How to Manage Data Usage
The Calls, Messaging and Browsing activity looks at a $30 prepaid monthly plan and how different phone functions affect data usage – such as streaming (Spotify), calls outside the network and SMS versus MMS. It also provides tips for managing data usage such as installing games at home using wi-fi instead of using mobile phone data. You may consider buying your child a phone that is not a smart phone which will the phone purely about making and receiving phonecalls.
How to Choose a Mobile Phone Plan For Kids
The Mobile Phone Plan activity involves matching the mobile phone needs of four different children to a sample mobile phone plan with feedback given about the suitability of each choice. A data usage tool is used to analyse personal usage and select the best plan. Important tips are provided including budget and comparing Critical Information Summaries (CIS).
How to Keep a Mobile Phone Secure
The Security activity explores a number of different scenarios such as giving away personal information to qualify to enter a competition, subscribing to an app that steals data and leaving a mobile phone unattended in a public place such as at school.
By entering responses to security issue scenarios, students can see the risks and possible consequences such as extra mobile charges, theft from a bank account and cyber bullying. At the end of the activity a summary shows the overall level of risk based on the responses.
Mobile Phones for Kids and Spam SMS
The Advertising activity teaches how advertisers try to access personal information and how to protect this information. Three example apps, FriendSpy, WhereRU and CruzeShoes, are used to show how advertisers try to obtain personal data such as images, location and contact details and how they use these to try and encourage purchasing and to send spam SMS.
Tips on how to avoid giving away personal data are provided as well as information about what to do if you do give it away such as asking an adult how to unsubscribe and where to mobile phone spam.
How to Manage Access to Mobile Entertainment
This entertainment activity looks at how and where to access mobile entertainment such as video and games. It prompts decisions about downloads and in-game purchases, and analyses the effect on data usage and the total cost.
How to Manage Mobile Credit for your child
The Mobile Credit activity looks at mobile phone usage and its impact on mobile credit. A $30 pre-paid plan which includes credit, texts and data is reviewed and analysed against usage patterns selected. Suggestions are made for changing habits such as removing premium service number access and considering alternatives such as chat to help manage the $30 limit.
Looking for More?
You should also check out how to set up family rules for the Internet
Separate digital financial literacy resources are available for high school aged children.
Sandy Fussell is mum to two digital natives. She works as an IT Consultant and is an award-winning author of books for young people. You can find her at www.sandyfussell.com and www.samuraikids.com.au