Wellbeing

Kids’ First Phones: 4 Rules Parents Should Follow

How to keep kids safe from online dangers and build trust.

A cartoon illustration of a boy holding his tablet in shock as a mother and father appear to be waving and monitoring his activity as they hold a magnifier and binoculars. A cartoon illustration of a boy holding his tablet in shock as a mother and father appear to be waving and monitoring his activity as they hold a magnifier and binoculars.

Your child’s first cell phone is a big moment. For kids, it opens up their world to direct connections with friends, socializing with like-minded people and staying up to speed with school on their own device. For you, it opens the door to new worries around excessive screen time, inappropriate social media use and overall digital well-being. Thankfully, there’s a happy medium. With four simple rules, parents can teach good digital habits and protect their children from most dangers lurking online, while also building a trusting relationship.

A father communicating with his hands to his young daughter as they sit on a grey couch. A father communicating with his hands to his young daughter as they sit on a grey couch.
1

Set ground rules

Healthy online habits should start long before you hand over that first smartphone. Talk to your child about responsible internet usage early and often, starting an ongoing conversation when they’re young and using the internet for the first time. A family internet contract that sets the rules of behavior for everyone in the household is an effective way to make things clear. Discuss the rules as a family, then write them down and have everyone sign the agreement. This will help kids feel more responsible—and boost the likelihood that they’ll follow those rules.

A young boy, looking down at and surfing on a black tablet as he sits on top of a desk in a garage. A young boy, looking down at and surfing on a black tablet as he sits on top of a desk in a garage.
2

Consider a mix of software and hardware

The easiest way to keep tabs on kids' digital behavior is through software, which helps you manage what content your child can access and how much of their online presence you see. Be sure to check whether the app is password-protected and if it can be controlled by one device, which can make settings a little harder for kids to circumvent. Installing parental controls straight to the hardware is a more foolproof measure to filter inappropriate content from the top down. It can also be pretty invasive, as some of these hardware controls read the internet history of anyone who plugs into the network. This is why the best strategy for many parents involves a combination of software and hardware controls. You can always begin your oversight with an app, and gauge whether tighter restrictions are needed before bringing in the hardware. A phone like the Galaxy A51 has security built into every aspect of its design, safeguarding private data with both hardware protection and the Knox security system.

A young boy holding and looking at a black Galaxy smartphone. He's sitting on his bed in a bedroom. A young boy holding and looking at a black Galaxy smartphone. He's sitting on his bed in a bedroom.
Black outline logo of a shield that represents Samsung Knox Black outline logo of a shield that represents Samsung Knox
Secured by Knox
Add another layer of safety to your child's internet activity through a Knox-supported device.
3

Tailor access to your kid

Every family will need to find an approach that works best for them. If your kid is struggling with screen time and self-control, for example, you may want to compare different parental control apps that can help encourage them to take a break. For young children, activating safe search and blocking inappropriate websites on all shared devices is crucial to protecting them from problematic content. Once your kid is old enough for social media, feel free to expand online privileges accordingly.

A father and his young daughter sit side-by-side in front of a black sofa. The father watches as his daughter uses a grey Galaxy tablet. A father and his young daughter sit side-by-side in front of a black sofa. The father watches as his daughter uses a grey Galaxy tablet.
4

Be an active participant

As in all aspects of raising children, parental involvement is critical. When it comes to online rearing, this means that you can’t let software do the job for you. Ultimately, the key to effective controls comes back to the golden rule for any relationship: paying attention and maintaining an open dialogue.

Protect your kids’ privacy

Help your children navigate the dangers of the internet through devices you can trust.

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