Guidelines for Safety & Security When Purchasing Your Child’s First Phone

Kids going back to school. It’s one of those pivotal moments when parents consider whether now is the right time to purchase their child a phone. Whether it’s traveling on the bus, going over to friends’ houses afterward, and, or attending a variety of after school activities, wireless equipment and technology can help parents and their children stay connected, IF used responsibly.

If you’re planning on purchasing your child a phone this back to school season, AT&T offers these basic guidelines for safety and security:

· Check privacy settings on social media, but emphasize there is no privacy. The more private, the less likely inappropriate material will be received by your child, or sent to their circle of acquaintances. Make sure your child understands that everything sent over the Internet or a cellphone is public and can be shared with the entire world, so it is important that they use good judgment.

· Set rules for texting. One option is to allow texting at specific times – no texting at school, no texting until homework is done, and no texting after a certain time at night. And, of course, no texting and driving.

· AT&T has Smart Limits which allows parents to:

unnamedSet limits

· Time Restrictions – Limit texting, outbound calling, and cellular data use during specific times.

· Text Limits – Set limits on the number of texts your child sends and receives.

· Purchase Limits – Limit purchases for apps, music, and games billed to your AT&T account.

Block data and numbers

· Block Data – Block access to cellular data for any line on your account.

· Block Numbers – Block unwanted calls and texts for up to 30 numbers including 411.

View activity

· View Daily Activity – Check calling and texting activity during the day or night.

· View Weekly Reports – Receive weekly summaries of texting and calling activity.

· Receive Alerts – Get alerts for text and call activity and receive new contact alerts.

And when it comes time to buy your child his or her first smartphone, there are several considerations and decisions to make. Determine exactly how your child plans to use the new cell phone. Parents can alleviate confusion and potential disappointment by finding out this key information before buying a phone.

Parents may want to prioritize the features of a wireless device that will be most important to their child, so they can narrow down the choices and make a wise purchase decision. The major wireless carriers offer many choices. AT&T stores, for example, stock nearly 70 wireless phones. There’s a device that’s just right for everyone; you just need to know what features will be most useful. Consider ranking the child’s mobile wish list using these criteria:

· Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 10.28.37 AMText messaging

· Send/receive e-mail

· Social media

· Take and share photos

· Games

· Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 10.28.56 AMListen to streaming music and mp3 files of music they already own

· Watching TV (U-tube or streaming video)

· Apps

· Browsing Web

· Video chat

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 10.28.45 AMBring the list of priorities along when shopping for a wireless phone. An AT&T Mobility store salesperson can then offer several devices in a variety of price ranges that will meet those needs. Some children may be mostly interested in talking on the phone and sending text messages. An AT&T quick messaging device could be an affordable solution for these functions. If a child enjoys video games and streaming video, a smartphone with larger display screens may be a better choice.

It’s also helpful to know how a child will use the phone when selecting the right voice and data plan. Streaming audio and video use more data than email and social media posts, so the mobile data plan you select should match how the phone will be used to avoid any surprises later. After selecting a wireless phone, mobile protection insurance should also be on the shopping list. Anyone can drop a phone, no matter their age.

Another key decision a parent should make is whether to choose a wireless device that requires a contract or not. The latter may be a good option for a parent trying to teach a child financial responsibility—the parent may purchase the device and make the child pay the monthly cost of voice, data and texting. A no-contract option? has no activation charge or contract. Choices of GoPhone® prepaid phones from AT&T range from basic voice phones to quick messaging devices all the way up to smartphones.

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About Leslie Pleasants

Leslie Pleasants is the founder of Today's Every Mom. Inspired by her own busy life with kiddos she set out to create a spot where Moms of any stage or age could find relevant and resourceful advice.