How To Control Data Usage on a Child’s Phone
Giving a child a mobile phone offers a direct line of communication with the child and a way to monitor their location at any time. But with these benefits comes the risk of excessive data use and other safety concerns. Parents can control a child’s phone data use by creating ground rules, setting a good example with their own data use, using data notifications and monitoring their child’s download activity.
Online safety for children and healthy screen time habits are concerns for parents, together with the financial cost associated with a child’s data use. And with limited data plans, children’s data usage on their new phones could break the bank. Here are some smart data use and safety strategies for parents to deploy:
- Create ground rules: Parents should create clear ground rules for when, where, and how much data use is allowed. These ground rules should also include which websites and apps are allowed. It is a good idea to write down these rules so they are easily referable and to include a list of consequences for rule violations.
- Set a good example: In addition to “talking the talk,” parents should set a good example of responsible cellphone data use. For instance, if the kids are not allowed to use their phones at the dinner table or during other family time, parents should model the behavior they expect their kids to follow.
- Protect their data: Keep it private; both Android and iPhone devices offer either an app or a setting that allows parents to limit how much of the children’s content can end up on the web. These limits include preventing search engines from saving information about a child’s web searches, voice commands and other online activities. Depending on the specific phone, adjusting its settings will allow a parent to prevent the apps on the child’s phone from accessing photos stored on the phone and from sharing the data on the phone via a Bluetooth connection.
- Be aware: Know what a child decides to download to their cellphone. Bells and whistles—ringtones, games, and novelty backgrounds—are attractive to children. But depending on the source, these downloads can come with hidden costs or include bugs that could affect the phone’s performance. And when a child decides to show them off to friends at school, the risk of losing the phone to theft increases. Parents should talk to their children about what is and is not allowed and then set limits on downloading needless extra features.
How Can I Monitor My Child’s Data Use?
Most mobile service providers notify customers of each phone’s data consumption, which gives parents an easy way to monitor their child’s data use. Parents wanting more detailed or real-time access to their child’s data use can install a third-party app on their child’s phone, which can be monitored from the parents’ phones.
Can I Block Data Use on a Child’s Phone?
If steps to limit a child’s data prove unproductive, a parent can always block both mobile and Wi-Fi data usage on the device. Third-party apps are one of the easiest ways to turn data on and off.
What’s the Best Way To Avoid Data Overages on a Child’s Phone?
Unlimited plans are, by far, the best way to avoid data overages. Modern unlimited plans cost the same, or only a few dollars more, than limited plans, making them the best option for worry-free family data plans.
Ready to upgrade your family to a wireless plan that eliminates all your overage worries? Check out FTC’s Unlimited Plans for mobile plans that eliminate data limits and let the entire family stream, download and watch videos to their hearts’ content.