GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) – Many parents often contemplate when is the right time and what is the appropriate age for kids to get their first cell phone. With Christmas right around the corner, tons of parents are thinking about finally purchasing that smartphone for their kids this holiday season. Now is the perfect time to have that conversation with your kids about being smart and responsible with their phone, especially when it’s their first phone. Bark Technologies has released tips for parents when making major electronic purchases for their kids. Check it out!

Be cautious about what they post

It’s important to educate your kids to be careful and cautious about what they are sending and posting online. Make sure they know once it’s posted, it’s out there for the world to see and it’s hard to truly delete it forever.

Know who your child is talking to online

Make sure your kids understand to be cautious about who they are talking to online. Many predators act as other kids online. Inform them to never share personal information with strangers online, no matter how innocent the conversation seems.

Educate your kid to chose non-identifying screen names

This goes back to never sharing personal information online with strangers. Since anyone can see screen names, you’ll want to make sure your kids have a generic name. Nothing that identifies where they are from, where they go to school, etc.

Regulate screen time each day

Have them charge their phones in the kitchen at night. Make time for outdoor play and reading. Although they finally have the freedom of a smartphone, parents should still regulate their time spent on it. When it’s family time, have everyone (including parents!) put away their phones and be present in the moment.

Require approval for every app they download

Be aware and understand what apps your kids are using. If the app isn’t age appropriate, try suggesting a similar one that’s more fitting. Also, do NOT allow unsupervised YouTube time. Monitor what they’re doing on their phones.

Join a parent tech community

It’s understandable that parents may need advice or guidance about how to go about these conversations with kids and to understand apps and trends…like, what’s “Tik Tok”? But don’t worry, you’re not alone! Joining parent tech communities, like Parenting in a Tech World, will give you insight from other parents, answers to your questions, and reassurances that you’re doing the right thing.

Talk to your kids about cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is real and happens everyday. Talking with your kids about what to do if they are a victim of cyberbullying is super important – don’t respond, reach out for help, save the evidence. Most importantly, make sure your kids know they can come to you.

Bark Technologies is a parental monitoring app that protects millions of kids on social media while keeping their privacy intact.