Smartphones are a powerful way to keep in touch with friends and family, but with this level of technology they also come with some warnings – especially for the younger generations.
For example, GPS tracking abilities of today's phones makes it easy for your child to find their way home. This same GPS feature can tell you exactly where your child is by linking your own phone – but it can also tell strangers where they are. Talk to your child about only giving coordinates to people they know well and trust.
Since today's cell phones are also connected to the internet, the entire world is literally at your child's fingertips. While this is of course handy for studying and finding a suitable place to eat nearby, it can also lead to inappropriate use – even by accident. There are apps on the market for various smartphone platforms that help ensure your child is only accessing the content that is suitable for their age range.
With social media comes image sharing – this can be a great way for friends to stay in touch or show where they are. However, image sharing is permanent on the internet, and your child should understand that any picture they share could end up in places they shouldn't. While you're at it, also mention to your child that they should reciprocate this behavior – they shouldn't spread photos of a potentially compromising moment involving a friend or stranger.
There are other safety tips to keep in mind (especially with the current augmented reality game craze). If your child has the need to put their phone up to their face while they're walking, tell them to also be aware of their surroundings so they avoid falling and other hazards. They should learn never to cross streets without paying attention to the traffic, even if your child has the right of way.
With some awareness and some safety measures from you as a parent, you can help ensure your child has a fun and safe cellphone experience!