Happy Birthday, Daughter!
Tonight I stand on the verge of my daughter’s twelfth birthday, in complete denial that this day has arrived. As a parent, we often slog through long days, but short years and the past 12 years have swept by oh so quickly. Can you relate?
For months now, there’s been an agreement that upon turning 12, my daughter would acquire her first smart device. And, that means I have an appointment at our local Sprint store on Tuesday in order to see which device is going to work best for her.
I’m going to be bold and state that I think she’s ready. What she’s most anxious for is the ability to text directly with her cousin without having to borrow mom’s or dad’s iPhone.
Maybe you have a son or daughter who is teetering on the edge of being ready, but you’re just not sure.
4 Reasons Why We’re Taking the Smartphone Plunge:
She’s been trained – my wife and I have been very intentional about teaching our daughter how to use the Internet. She received a Kindle HD for her birthday two years ago. From the beginning, it was clearly known that the device was co-owned with dad, even named “Dad’s and Daughter’s [insert name] Kindle.” As long as she is using our Wi-Fi and I’m the subscriber to that Wi-Fi, every internet-ready device is CO-OWNED. This is our family policy. I look her in the eyes regularly and ask her if she’s doing well with how she’s using technology. She knows what pornography is and what to do if she sees it. We’ve spoken openly and honestly about these things, giving her no reasons to cover and hide anything she might bump into.
Related post: How to Talk to a 5-year-old About Pornography
She’s proven herself trustworthy – most of her Internet access has been through my own iPhone, our home’s computer, or my wife’s iPhone (we restricted the web browsing on her Kindle, which you can learn about here). My iPhone uses the Covenant Eyes browser and nothing has been flagged. My wife’s iPhone uses Apple’s Restrictions, and we’ve noted nothing unusual in the Safari history (which can’t be deleted with Restrictions enabled). We’ve read the text conversations with her cousin, and emojis outnumber actual words. (What!? You mean emojis aren’t actual language?!)
Related post: How to use Apple’s Restrictions for a Safer Experience!
She’s made mistakes (and learned from them) – do you remember the Creepy Clown fad that recently swept the country? Not funny at all. But, my daughter heard about it at school and that night decided to Google “creepy clowns” on my wife’s iPhone. Although Restrictions were enabled, she saw plenty of very scary images and it shocked her to the point of tears and she came running to my wife. It was a valuable experience. She learned an important lesson about how Google really isn’t really interested in protecting her – and we talked about that. My wife learned that our daughter actually knew what to do when she sees something uncomfortable or inappropriate – PUT IT DOWN and TELL SOMEONE. We refer back to this incident regularly to remind her of the lessons learned.
She’s not going to have social media – we are holding out and sticking to COPPA’s rules that no one under age 13 should have their own social media account. It’s just not safe (I’m not even sure she’ll be ready at age 13). We will be blocking the Google Play store so that she can’t download social media apps without coming to us first (Covenant Eyes has an app blocker that allows you to block Google Play). A smartphone without social media is a less risky device for a 12-year-old.
Related post: What’s the Right Age to Give My Kid Social Media?
Maybe you’ve recently decided to give your child a smartphone. How did you know your kid was ready?
If you’re curious, we’ll be using Covenant Eyes Internet Filtering and Accountability on her new phone,. I’ve only recently made this decision, now that Covenant Eyes has an Android filter, which is very important to me. There are millions of things that I just don’t want her to see at all, and a filter will help block the junk.
She’ll also only be using the device at home to begin. She is still very much in the training phase.
Do you agree or disagree with our decision? Please let me know in the comments below.
By the way, Merry Christmas! If it’s a season where little people in your home will be receiving new devices, please make sure they are adequately protected. Visit the Protect Young Eyes DEVICES section today for parental control help for all the latest gadgets – it’s newly updated!
Call to Action – parents, are you ready to learn more about the digital age and educate your kids about their tech? We’re creating >25 videos on various topics (pornography, bullies, predators, image) to watch with your kids so that you can teach them wise, healthy, and God-honoring digital habits. Follow this link and select “curious parent” in the drop-down menu to be told when Virtue in Media is ready.
Chris McKenna, Founder: A man with never ending energy when it comes to fighting for the safety and protection of children. Chris practices his internet safety tips on his four amazing children and is regularly featured on news, radio, and podcasts for his research. His 2019 US Senate Judiciary Committee testimony was the catalyst for draft legislation and on-going discussion that could radically change online child protection laws and earned PYE the NCOSE Dignity Defense Alert Award in 2020. The PYE team has performed over 1,300 presentations at schools, churches, and nonprofits and was featured in the Childhood 2.0 movie. When not leading PYE, Chris is the Digital Marketing Manager for Covenant Eyes. Other loves include running, spreadsheets, nature, and candy.