Smart Phone for 11 Year Old
November 27, 2017 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Any recommendations on what kind of cellphone, provider, and tools that would work best for supervising an 11 year old's access to the digital world? How do you do it in your family?

So, I'm a little hesitant to let my kid into the Instagram world, but, we are trying to give him some more leash and want to be able to get in touch with him. Previously he's been using a prepaid burner phone, but, he really wants something a little more useful. We want to severely limit what he can do on the phone in regards to apps and internet usage so we are looking for the best way to do that. Also, we don't want to spend more than a couple hundred bucks on the phone. What kind of rules do you set for your kids about how and when they use their phones? What kind of tools do you use to enforce them? Thanks for your input.
posted by trbrts to Technology (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
google has something called family link that lets you control what applications as well as what times your child is allowed to use the phone (and probably more than that). there was an article on it that camcgee shared in the last 'kid smart device' thread.
posted by noloveforned at 8:05 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

We gave my 11-year-old my old iPhone 5s recently, and control her use of it with the OurPact app. For us, it's been great, and well-worth the $5/month to have finely-grained control over her use. She gets two hours each day that all apps are available, and then some that she can always use. (She falls asleep to audiobooks, so Audible and Hoopla are available round the clock.)

She really like OurPact, too, because before we got it we took up her phone every night and we have annoying timer systems to limit her phone use, and now the app just handles all that for us. Much less stress for everyone. OurPact works for Android, too, so it's an option no matter what phone you wind up using.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:54 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Friends with tweens have this policy:
- No data SIM, internet is only when on wifi but they can still text and call
- Parents are their friends on every site
- Parents have access to passwords on every site
- Phone is in parents' bedroom after 9pm
posted by k8t at 10:53 AM on November 27, 2017

My ten year old son has an iPhone 5, with all access (phone, internet, etc.) He got it so we could let him be out in the world - he walks home from school, walks to his cousins' around the corner, etc.

We don't really have any rules, necessarily. He's not on any social media - I don't even think he knows what Instagram is. Mostly he watches gamers on YouTube, makes his YouTube videos and posts them to his private account, and plays Minecraft, Roblox, etc.

For us, the length of time he's on his phone is an issue, but what he's doing is not. But we are a pretty tech family, so we're all on screens a lot.

Every once in a while I pick up his phone, sign on and take a look around to make sure nothing weird is happening. So far, so good.
posted by lyssabee at 5:41 PM on November 27, 2017

I don't, really. My kid (10) has been online since forever and has had a phone since 8. (For wifi only, but that's about to change. We started with a C$75 Alcatel Mini which was great but short on storage space. She took really good care of it, and now has a nicer Motorola.)

She thinks swearing is awful and thinks sex is gross; I am really not worried about her checking out non-PG stuff (and just this evening she asked me if she could watch a particular show on Netflix -- I asked why she was asking me; turns out it is reputedly "a little scary." I said sure, just promise to stop watching if you do end up scared. "It's really cool that I'm getting to watch some scarier stuff now. A while ago you would have said no." "A while ago you cried and did not forgive me for weeks for showing you the Poltergeist trailer, even though you had begged me to...") and at ten, if she does want to look up sex stuff, she's welcome to; I had read through The Joy of Sex and some Anaïs Nin by around that age. Admittedly different from hardcore porn, but. I have been online since the very early 90s and have accidentally run into porn, and not very big deal porn, once.

We have gone over rules about giving out personal info; she uses nicknames on various sites, doesn't use her last name on FB, she isn't allowed to sign up for anything or download any apps without checking with me, can't give out her e-mail without checking, etc. Only once did she mess up, and it was kind of a grey "I thought it would be okay because..." area.
posted by kmennie at 5:49 PM on November 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

You could try Circle with Disney, but I think it is the cause of some WiFi flakiness in my home.
posted by 4ster at 6:10 PM on November 27, 2017

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