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Cell Phones for kids

dogcopter posted 6/8/2021 09:51 AM

My wife and I decided that we want the girls to have some cell phones.

Could someone share their experience with the parental control software: what they use? How is it? Can you share the controls with another parent?

I'm a bit overwhelmed at looking at these plans. I have an android and she has an iphone. (incidently, did you know that iphone imessages are untraceable and don't show up on the bill? )

grubs posted 6/8/2021 10:19 AM

(incidently, did you know that iphone imessages are untraceable and don't show up on the bill? )
Only to other iPhones. They route the messages through apples servers for data harvesting purposes.

Your kids are younger right? Step Son received his first phone at 13 and we still thought he was too young. His father bought it without asking. He was 14 when we switched him to our plan and never locked him down. I would consider just flip phones if they are really young. That gives them the ability to reach either parent via phones but not have to worry about games, smedia, web browsing.

dogcopter posted 6/8/2021 14:35 PM

I don't really want them to have phones yet. I think they have too much screen time as it is.

But as long as I can monitor closely, I'm ok with it. So I agreed. I want to see what they are doing/watching, who they are taking to and what they are saying.

Apple is probably out because of $$, but I was thinking some refurbished androids may not be bad... But if the parental software on one is better than the other, that is very important to me.

tushnurse posted 6/8/2021 16:28 PM

My kids are adults now so bear with me on this.

Back when they "needed" cell phones we were pretty particular in what they got and the rules around them. Both were participating in after school stuff, and needed them to contact transporters, or us them for changes in transports as we both had jobs that often required staying late unexpectedly, and so forth.

So the first phone for both of them were our old flip phones that didn't have the keypad for texting and didn't have the ability to surf the net. This was probably in 2007 for the youngest.

Second phones were blackberries, and we did give them access to the internet, my H ghosted them when set up so we saw texts and internet searches. Anything that crossed a line, and they knew we could see everything, got them locked down or the phone taken away.

When they came home phones went on the counter, and chargers. They stayed there all evening and night and they grabbed them on the way out. This served 2 purposes, kept them fully charged so they couldn't use the it was dead excuse, and kept them off of them because they didn't have them in their rooms.

By the time they were 15 they the right to keep their phone, texting was the preferred method of communication for the world at that point, and they had internet access. Again the phones were ghosted, and if inappropriate material was viewed, it was automatic take away.

We tried to make anything too tabboo so it wasn't so interesting that they wanted to see it, i.e., porn, info on drugs, etc. For the most part they were good kids and didn't really do anything too awful.

Thumos posted 6/8/2021 16:53 PM

Just get a flip phone. Much less trouble to watch than a smart phone

barcher144 posted 6/8/2021 18:20 PM

what they use? How is it? Can you share the controls with another parent?

My GF and her ex-husband use Life360 to track the location of her kids' phones all of the time. It actually works well and it is free.

She and I use it too... it's actually helped me out with my xWW because she's accused me of (more or less) stalking her when I dropped my son off at her house for school. I was able to show that wasn't the case.

I don't have any experience with parental controls as far as content.

TX1995 posted 6/8/2021 18:33 PM

I hate cell phones.

We got both of our kids iPhones the summer after 5th grade when they started walking places, being with friends more, going further with carpools/sports teams/trips.

I do like Apple's parental controls. If you go that route, just create an Apple ID for them under a family account with you and your STBX as parents. With the parental controls, I can approve which apps my kids can download, (they also cannot delete apps w/o my permission), I can control how much time they spend on certain apps or categories, I can block websites, and I can even block whether or not they can be contacted by certain people. I take their phones at night (no phone in room while asleep) AND I downtime them as well (phone is basically useless beyond calling me or 911).

Just be careful about apps like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. YouTube as well. Those cannot be controlled beyond time spent - and there is some awful stuff that kids can share and do on those apps.

Oh, and if you want to be able to read their texts, just have their texts come to a device of yours. Back when I used to do this with my son, I had them go to an old iPhone. He's 16 now, so I let him have more privacy, but still have the password and can check whenever I want. (Though he could delete if desired.) He tends to communicate through Snapchat anyways....

[This message edited by TX1995 at 6:36 PM, June 8th (Tuesday)]

dogcopter posted 6/9/2021 11:51 AM

Thank you for the feedback. There is so much to sort through. They interact with Youtube as it is, but they are pretty good with it I feel. Most of the time it is on the main tv and I have heard them stop something for bad words from the other room multiple times (so proud!). My oldest actually animates basic stuff and works on her own channel, which scares me, but I think she is doing it right.

Incidently, one of many things I thought of as I was starting the divorce process was that I dont want to have to spy on both my wife and our kids. lol

So sorting through this will take some time. It sounds like I can achieve transparency at the phone level but not within the apps themselves. That is good to know...

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