This is a sponsored post written by me for FreeRange Mobile. All opinions are mine alone.
Now that Sophia rides the bus every day and many of her friends are starting to get their own phones, she has been asking for one of her own. I have an old smart phone (or two) that I have kept around just for the kids. Now that we are about to give our daughter her very own phone, here are some tips to keep in mind as you navigate this transition with your own kids. From setting time limits to using the FreeRange Mobile app, keep reading for my best tips!
1. Set time limits on phone usage!
When kids get their own phones, they should not have free reign over phone usage. There should be strict limits set on continuous time usage. For example, if Sophia wants to watch some of her favorite videos, I limit her to only 30 minutes at a time. After that time period, she has to get off the phone and go outside, read a book, play with her sister, etc. Another time limit is the time of day she is allowed to use the phone. I think phones should not be used after 8pm, so we set a hard limit on phone usage in the evening.
2. Use the FreeRange Mobile app!
If I get a second phone line from the cellular company for Sophia, it would be at least $40… and that’s with the minimum data package! Too expensive! With FreeRange Mobile (I talked about my love for them here in this post), it’s only $5 for unlimited calls & texts to any phone number in the US, Mexico and Canada. If you need the ability to make international calls, it’s only $10/month for a worldwide plan. The first thing I did was to show her how to use the app and establish some rules.
With FreeRange Mobile, my daughter can enjoy the freedom of having her own phone line and her own phone. One thing I really appreciate about the app is that there’s no need to watch videos to earn credits. With FreeRange Mobile, there are absolutely no hidden charges! With a subscription, all calls & texts are truly free. She has been really enjoying sending her friends text messages!
By the way, calls made via FreeRange Mobile have impressively high quality with clear & crisp sound. Unlike so many other WiFi calling apps out there, you can call anyone with a landline or cellular number in the United States, Mexico and Canada. You are not limited by app-to-app compatibility. Sophia can even set up unique ringtones so she’ll instantly know whether the call is from her friend or from me!
How does FreeRange Mobile work? Well, it uses a WiFi signal to make/receive calls and texts. Nowadays, with the wide availability of WiFi networks at home, school, coffee shops, stores, parks, etc. it’s easy to find a signal to make that call. And if you have cellular service, when you walk out of that coffee shop, you won’t lose your call. There is a seamless transition between WiFi and Cellular connections.
Getting a phone number is super simple and you can choose from hundreds of area codes throughout the country. If you ever need to change your phone number down the road, it’s just a click away! This ability to quickly & easily change your number makes FreeRange Mobile a smart choice when dating, traveling, meeting clients, posting online, etc. Keeping your private number private is always a good idea!
Ready to give it a try? Go to the Google Play Store or App Store today to start your free 5-day trial! No credit card necessary!
3. Share passwords with parents!
This tip is probably more appropriate for a tween or younger child, who is getting her first phone. As the child grows up and approaches an older age, this rule may need to be adjusted so as to give the child some independence. However, for a younger child, I think sharing passwords with the parents is a smart way to ensure that all online activity is safe and age-appropriate. There should be no secret accounts!
4. Encourage open communication!
Before handing over any phone, parents should discuss with their kids the common dangers & pitfalls of the Internet. Kids should be instructed not to ever share personal information with someone they meet online. Furthermore, in the event of doubt or confusion, kids should always be encouraged to share concerns / questions with parents. Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial for a positive, safe experience.
5. Set up parental controls!
Whether your child will use her phone to text her friends or download the latest app games, make sure you keep tabs on your child’s online activities. Most phones come with built-in parental control settings that allow you to monitor your child’s clicks online. However, there are also free apps that take those controls to another level.
Don’t forget to learn more about FreeRange Mobile for your child’s first phone. Have you ever heard of this calling app? When did you give your kid his/her first phone?