June 23, 2016

June is Internet Safety Month

I am a blog ambassador with U.S. Cellular, and this post is sponsored on their behalf.  All opinions, as always, are my own!

Yesterday Emma came home from Vacation Bible School (VBS) and asked when she could have one of my old iPhones, so that she could get Snapchat.  She is eight.  The kids in her class at VBS are eight.  How do they even know what Snapchat is?!

It reminded me that I need to take my own advice, print off this Parent-Child Agreement and have a talk about internet safety, and what is acceptable.

Now, I’m not sure how many other parents out there have little kids like mine that want to get their own cellphones, and I think my kids might be a little more aware of it all because of my job as a blogger, but goodness it surprised me.

Of course, once I thought about it a little more, there isn’t a day that goes by where I am not taking pictures for Instagram, filming a video for YouTube, asking the kids if I can mention them on Facebook and Twitter.  I even sat with Emma a few days ago as we took pictures on Snapchat and played with the different filters.

According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, the average age children receive cellphones is 13.  It still seems so young to me – especially since I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was in college.  But, technology seems to be entwined into every facet of life these days, so knowing how to use it safely and efficiently is the most important point.

With homeschooling, we spend a lot of time online researching different subjects, looking up answers to questions we have, and finding new ideas for games and activities to keep learning fun.  I definitely struggle with how much freedom to give to my kids regarding their technology.

They love Minecraft, and both love to make videos.  They love YouTube Kids, and also like to remind me when they are doing something particularly exciting and I should take a picture or video of it.  They read books on their kindles as well as watch movies.  It is amazing to have one device that can do so much, so much for learning, but also so much for entertainment.

I think the main goal should be open communication.  Using things like the Parent-Child Agreement as a conversation starter.  Making sure the kids know the boundaries and then sticking to them.  Also talking about proper etiquette online – that even if you can’t see someone, you should still speak to them as if they were right in front of you, and always treat others with respect.

There are so many challenges to kids these days, especially with the amount of cyber-bullying, hacking incidents and phishing scams, I want my kids to feel safe, and enjoy the technology we have access to, but also to know the right way to use it.

When did your kids first get cellphones?  If you are a blogger/vlogger, do they seem to want more access because you share online?


  1. My kids know what things like snapchat & facebook are because I have them, but they are going on 9 & 12 in August and the only time they are online is at school. They are not allowed on the computer at home.

    1. That is really interesting! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. You're thinking a lot about the safety of your child - and it's so great. The parent-child agreement sounds like a wonderful way to start the conversation and set those understandings between the both of you!
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  3. I knew of students who had cell phones in the first grade. They could call mom if they wanted and you can imagine what a head ache that was! I think this idea of internet safety is fantastic.

  4. I am glad my kids are older. It is so important for them to know what is right and wrong to allow on the internet.

  5. My oldest will be eleven and he does not have a cell phone. My two oldest ask on occasion, but I always say "what do you need it for, who do you need to call?" They know about social media with me being a blogger, but it's not of a lot of interest to them yet. It makes me nervous and we willbe using the agreement among other tools when my kids do get a cell phone / and start using the computer more.
    Great post.

  6. I used to think 13 was too young as well but if my kids have to take public transportation to get to school I want to make sure they can get a hold of me if they need too. We are quite diligent to make sure the parental controls are on so we can keep kids safe. What a difference from when we were kids.

  7. My son got his first cell phone at age 13 because it was a require tool for one of his classes adn his teacher insisted he have one. That said he rarely uses it. To be honest he hates being online at all for social purposes.

  8. I got a cell phone at 13 (except it was almost 14) and it was a flip phone and I couldn't do text messages on it (wasn't allowed) unless family texted me first. But, at the same time, we were moving far away from where we lived at the time, and it was also the best way to be able to make long distance phone calls to the friends I was leaving behind.
    I did, however, have unattended access to the Internet (though it was dial-up!), and I got myself into multiple bits of places I should not have been, but it was also that I knew I shouldn't and did it anyway (because, uh, I was a teenager xD ).
    I think kids could have cell phones in middle school or whatever, but an Internet-free one. They're at school, they don't need to play with phones. They're at home, they can use whatever other devices are available. But having something to get in contact with adults (and friends!) can be necessary or helpful at times. Flip phones can still be bought, and if that's the only option, it may make them think twice about wanting one!

  9. I can't believe the average age is 13 for a cell phone. I would have never been able to have one at that age, but I guess that's because the technology doesn't exist.

  10. I don't think 13 is too young. I've always been grateful to have easy [and often] communication with my kids. Especially when they started driving.

  11. My oldest is 11 but she hasn't asked about mobile phones yet. I don't think I will give her one until shes a bit older. There's just no need for one at the moment. Personally, I got a cell phone when I was about 16!

  12. I can't imagine giving my 7 year old a phone, but thena part of me would feel comfort in him having one too. I like.the.agreement though!

  13. My niece and nephew have "phones," which are actually ipod touches. They are almost 3 and 5, and only use them to play games, take photos, and watch movies or PBS kids. My nephew already knows how to use Snapchat, but he doesn't share his broadcasts with anyone. He also texts, but only with his grandparents and me, but he is very tech oriented and so is his dad. I think as long as you monitor what they are doing and are aware of what is on their devices you can protect them.

  14. This is really great info. My son is 7 and recently asked how to add comments to YouTube because he wanted to give his favorite youtubers our address! That sparked a huge conversation about being safe online!

  15. I got my first cell phone when I was in high school. My kids may get an easy to use one to call me when they are in middle school.

  16. We don't get our kiddos phones, they have these awesome little watches that they can use to call home or our cell phones. Love them.


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