How to get your child set up safely on their first device


Read our guide on familiarising your kids with their first smartphones and tablets

Recent studies have shown that by the age of 11 over 90% of children in the UK have their own smartphone. With this comes access to a whole world of information and entertainment but there are also the risks posed by malicious users, harmful content and addictive social apps. Enabling our children to use their phones safely is now a vital part of modern parenting and fortunately there are lots of things that you can do to help keep them safe online.

Talking to your child openly and honestly is one of the best ways to help them stay safe. This means creating an environment where they feel comfortable sharing with you what they watch, who they engage with and how it makes them feel. If they’re able to do this without fear of judgement or punishment it means they’re more likely to tell you about any issues such as bullying or harassment.

Being part of a healthy online community can be a really positive thing and lots of games, apps and websites have ways for users to get together and chat. However, these can also be used by malicious users who want to bully and manipulate others. Making your child aware of the warning signs of this type of behaviour can stop them falling victim to it or at least let them identify it and tell you if it happens.

Look for ways to encourage healthy screentime not only throughout the day but per app. Excessive social media scrolling can be detrimental to your child’s developing mind but rather than banning the use of these apps outright, explain to them why it’s better to only spend a limited time on them. Reinforce this by setting a good example with your own screen habits.

Two young boys using smart devices at home

Numerous resources now exist which allow you to limit exposure to content that might be harmful. You can block unwanted access to adult content, in app-purchases, gaming charges, and premium numbers through your internet provider, router or on the device itself. Everyone’s set up is different, so you’ll need to check your device settings in order to do this.

Familiarising yourself with your device’s safety settings will also help you limit the information which is shared with unknown users and allow you to disable location data. If you’d like more control over what your child can access, then explore Family settings.

If you’re an EE customer, you can sign up to our family plan, and our EE app gives you easy access to WiFi and Parental Control features, making your home connection that little bit safer.

You can also use the EE Set-Up Safe service. It’ll help you block adult websites, set a spend cap, disable data or block third party charges over mobile data. Just text Set Up Safe to 150 or use the app.

Finally, for extra peace of mind, sign up for a Phonesmart licence, which is free to any child on any network.

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