With the recent Christmas holiday, many students have been talking to me about the electronic devices they received as gifts. One of my recent conversations was with a first grader who got a phone but told me that he “can’t call on, but can do everything else.” He then pointed out that he was unable to text because he wasn’t good at spelling yet. I wanted to provide some resources surrounding setting expectations and safety/privacy settings.
For Apple devices, here is how to set privacy settings and block explicit content as well as many other ways to make the device safer for a child.
For Android devices, here is a detailed guide on how to set the parental controls.
Any child that has their own device should have a contract between the parents and child. I prepared a contract that can be downloaded and used. Parents should review this and edit on their own before discussing it with a younger child as it does set expectations around not sending inappropriate pictures of themselves. This was originally designed for upper and middle school and high school students when they received a phone, but with 1st graders discussing “their phones,” creating a contract of acceptable use is imperative.
My wife, Sherri, wrote an excellent blog about how to set expectations around the use of any digital device. She wrote it based on our house rules around electronics.
Many young students will want to have TikTok. TikTok has a great deal of adult-themed content on it. I wouldn’t recommend TikTok for anyone under 17 years old. Unfortunately, TikTok is rated 12+.
Here is what the App Store provides as why the app is rated 12+:
Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References