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Phones and Kids

Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

Hi Everyone,


I don't have any kids, but I'm at the stage in my life where that's something that could be coming up sooner rather than later. I was wondering if anyone here has much experience with what it's like for kids to have phones and what good parenting looks like regarding phones. I know phones are now almost an essential tool for socializing for a lot of younger people, and that there are some downsides too. I'd like to make sure I'm not ruining my future children's social life, but don't want them to neglect the rest of the world becase they're staring at a phone either.


Part of what prompted this comment was me searching for the "Textnow" app due to some people here recommending it (which is awesome, by the way - I wish I knew about this ages ago). I also came across this site which lists textnow as dangerous for kids. I watched some of the video of the guy explaining his reasoning, and in addition to saying child predators are using the app, he says, "We do believe in paying for what you get" and "We are weary of look at this ad to earn time. We'd rather get them on to the good apps like instagram and Facebook, these are the apps that are genuinely more free" (I'm leaving out a few words).


This seems downright bananas to me. Child predators using textnow could text any phone number, not just people using the app. "Facebook" being listed as a good app, and a good way to do a free app is nuts - they have sold out the information and are one of the reasons politics in the US seem so messed up now, to me anyway.


Does anyone have any good advice for parents or future parents and their kids using cell phones? Also, if I'm off-base about textnow, feel free to let me know... having it as an unsafe app for kids, at least for the main reasons given doesn't make sense to me, but I'm willing to admit I could be wrong, especially since I don't yet have kids.


Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

I think positive messaging as the kids are growing will slowly guide your children to be responsible technology user.

Kids learn by example, when I have dinner in public or at home, I do not bring the phone to the table or I will turn on vibrate and keep it face down if I was expecting a call.

I limit looking at my phone when I am with others, as I feel it’s personally rude to not be present with the person I arrange to make time to meet. I can not control if they have to check their phone every time it buzzes but after about 10-15 minutes, my friends usually put their phone away.

When I am with kids and have my phone out, I always tell them what I am doing, let’s check the weather, or route to wherever, it now is a tool, and I will text their parent, if I am with my nieces and say that we better check in so your mom don’t worry.

I have been doing this since my nieces are 2 and they are now 12, they both have phones. One don’t use it much other than texting her parents to let them know she got to friends house, etc., the other uses it more but she does put the phone away when asked and she never has it out when she is with family. I asked her what happens if your friends texted or post something you missed, and she said if it’s important, they will call.. and a few hours is not going to make a difference.. almost verbatim of what I say most of the time.. I was in tears 😭 with happiness 😊 as they do listen even if you don’t think they do. 😁

Sorry for the long reply 🤗 Have a great day!

You don't have kids (yet). Who knows what kinds of phones and devices might be commonplace more than a decade from now, or at what age "normal" children/teens will be equipped with them.


Parents do have a lot of options, parental controls built into software, nanny functions and content censorship and location reporting built into "kid safe" hardware. Stuff designed and maintained by other people - not necessarily agreeable to all parents in all specifics - but probably better than nothing and always improving.


Most kids/teens eventially reach an age where they will get savvy about circumventing the tech to do whatever they want anyhow. So I think the key is to educate them and empower/trust them enough to grow up a bit on their own - you can't (and won't want to) know about everything they do all the time, but you can inform and influence them young, before they fall into bad crowds and bad habits.


OP, you are going to burn through a lot of diapers, swim and piano lessons before having to deal with online activities.   My advice is defer access as long as possible.  

Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

Sounds like solid advice 🙂 It just seems like some parents are overly concerned and try to monitor and control everything with their kids. Not being a parent, having time for a kid (even a young kid) to do things on their own and not be monitored all the time seems like a good thing. I can't tell if this is something that just happens when people become parents and they get overly protective, but it seems like some people lose their minds. 


For example, teaching kids that strangers can be dangerous, and you shouldn't necessarily believe what they say seems like good advice to me. Teaching kids that strangers are dangerous and you should never talk to a stranger seems like madness... but I've been in conversations where parents seemed to be arguing "yes, that's the message we want to communicate, kids shouldn't talk to strangers". 


You're right though, I imagine I won't have to worry about this for quite a while, especially if it's double-digit ages before kids get phones (I have no idea when kids get their first phone - it still feels a little weird to me for kids to have phones at all).

Not applicable

Wow. That's a topic starter.

What with seeing the kids through suckling, as infants, as toddlers, as young children - you'll have your hands full well before you might come to think about whether they need the social world of a screen.

I wouldn't worry or even think about this until they're at least into double digits. That aspect of childrens lives doesn't really come about until then anyway. Until then they're all yours.

But I chose not to have kids so what do I know.


As for predators, when the time comes, just be sure to teach your kids safe onlining. The same old same old from days of yore - just another venue for the psychos. But really...they're rare. The vastest majority of people would have no interest in harming kids. And for craps sake kids (and adults)...don't share pics of your naughty bits.

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