This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Verizon. #VZParent

If mobile devices are on your tween or teen’s Christmas list be sure to read this article full of “elf advice” from the North Pole on Smartphone Tips for Teens.

Most recent research from Influence Central suggests that the average age a child gets a smartphone for the first time is 10.3 years old. As a Mom of 10 and 12 year olds we are right in the middle of the tech sweet spot. 

We decided to give our children their first smartphones last Christmas. It was the right time for our family and it’s a decision we still stand behind. For our family, technology was a must for communication, staying organized with schedules, school homework and important dates and to stay connected with family and friends who don’t live close by.

Did your tween or teen get a new smartphone for Christmas? Santa’s elves from the North Pole are here to share some important Smartphone Tips for Teens.

Smartphone Tips for Teens #1 – Understand Your Mobile Plan – 

Your tween or teen should understand their wireless plan is a contract. They should know if their contract is unlimited or if they are limited to a certain amount of data a month and what are the consequences (overage fees, throttling, etc.) when they go over their data amount. If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, account owners receive automatic text and email alerts when 50%, 75%, 90%, and 100% of monthly allowances for voice, messaging or data have been used. That’s super helpful when trying to keep kids accountable.

Smartphone Tips for Teens #2 Start Off Right – 

The parent or guardian should decide what features of the phone the child is allowed to use. Will they have full use of the device? Will you limit certain features on the phone, like texting or Internet access? You will want to set up a “restrictions” passcode so you, the parent, can have ultimate control over the phone. 

Smartphone Tips for Teens #3 Set Rules and Limitations – 

In our house our kids cannot use their phones before school, cannot use them until their homework is done, no phones at the dinner table, absolutely no phones in their bedrooms and we’ve instructed them to never talk on their phones with someone they don’t know and that includes never responding to unknown numbers and text messages. We also must approve all app downloads, have all pass codes and can take the phone whenever we decide they’ve lost the privilege of having one. Scenarios when we have taken our kids’ phones away include: slipping grades, being disrespectful, being dishonest or not completing chores.

Smartphone Tips for Teens # 4 Use Parental Controls –

Smartphones come equipped with parental controls which restrict access to specific content and helps control privacy. One of our favorite tools is Verizon Smart Family. Verizon Smart Family allows you to limit what they see on their devices by setting content filters.

Smartphone Tips for Teens #5 Make Smart Decisions Together – 

When we gave our boys their phones we allowed the use of basic gaming and streaming apps, text messaging, music and photos/camera. We did not allow our kids to set up email addresses, social media profiles or have Internet access. These were decisions we made together and it’s what works for our family. By making decisions together, you’ll all be on the same page and their smartphone relationship with your kids will be one built on mutual respect and understanding. 

Smartphone Tips for Teens #6 Lock It Down – 

Cellphone and smartphones give our children unprecedented access, which includes people having access to your kids. To keep your child protected and safe they should turn location services OFF for certain apps that attempt to share your location. You should also instruct your kids to keep their phone keypads locked at all times to protect their phones in case it is lost or stolen and to make sure they are not storing revealing personal info on their phone.

Smartphone Tips for Teens #7 Helpful Apps –

I’m a big fan of apps. My kids are able to manage parts of their lives thanks to apps. They receive homework reminders via apps, are able to view their grades and check their weekly school lunch menu. Some of my favorites apps include: DriveSafeMode (turns your phone off while driving); Verizon Family Locator app helps you monitor your children’s whereabouts as they go about their day and can also pinpoint their smartphone signal on an aerial photo or a map; and; ChildID app which lets you store up-to-date photos and information about your child (height, weight, eye color, birthmarks, mannerisms, etc.) that is vital to detectives in the critical first 48 hours of a missing person investigation. 

Smartphone Tips for Teens #8 Upgrades –

To upgrade or not upgrade? Your kids may push you to upgrade or insist that they need to latest and greatest cell phone. My rule of thumb is that my kids will not have a better phone than I have. I like to have a better or equal phone than my kids and I like them to have the same brand as me. I want to fully understand their phone and how to use it at any time. If they upgrade or change models, I may not understand their new phone which give them to ability to hide things on their new phone. 

Smartphone Tips for Teens #9 Stay Connected – 

My kids know that as soon as I call or text them they must answer within minutes. We use the smartphones to stay connected when traveling, working, at school or away from home with friends. It is how we stay connected even when we are not together. I love knowing my kids are able communicate with me within moments thanks to their smartphones.

Smartphone Tips for Teens # 10 Have Fun! – 

Smartphones have added a lot of fun to our family. My kids enjoy sending me cute emojis and gifs when we chat. I love sharing news stories with them easily and also sharing some of my favorite music with them via shared playlists. We’ve recently started exploring PodCasts together. 

Looking for gift ideas? Check out this back-to-school tech guide which includes lots of tech ideas for tweens and teens that would also be perfect for Christmas!

For all things tech, remember Verizon is the go-to Christmas choice. Find of why, here?


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