Remember when you decided to let your child have their first mobile phone – so they’d be safer walking home from school, or from a friend’s house, or so they could call you when they finish their after-school club or match?
ParentShield is here every day – we speak to so many parents who want to provide a mobile phone for the obvious safety benefits it brings but are concerned about that new world of their child potentially being 12 or 13 keypresses away from speaking to any person, anywhere in the world. It’s a familiar journey to us but understandably brand new territory for every first-time phone providing parent.
Unfortunately, it’s not a journey that is trouble-free and there is always a period between receiving their first phone and the age and maturity to use and maintain it responsibly. Every one is different but the issues faced are familiar ones. Here are a few we hear of:
The natural, and understandable-after-receiving-that-unexpected-£100-bill response is often to confiscate the phone. It’s going to get ugly, but it does get a message over.
However we believe that this is the time to remember why a phone was provided in the first place and backed up by ParentShield’s child-friendly features Parents are empowered to have appropriate conversations earlier – before shock and scare turn the situation into mobile warfare – and to have a suite of tools available to issue appropriate sanctions that don’t cause arguments and remove the very lifeline itself.
As parents ourselves, we know that the first rule of dealing with problems is to know the dangers before they turn into problems and remove them to make sure they don’t turn into problems. We fitted plug-socket covers and cupboard locks before they could walk and we fitted the stair-gates as soon as they could but before they could climb.
We did this because houses are built for adults, and not designed for children. So we made changes. Mobile networks and mobile phones are built for adults, not designed for children so something needs to change.
ParentShield started from scratch. We have never provided mobile phone services for adults, and adults aren’t even allowed to use ParentShield in their own phones ( We are asked every day! ) so it was a little like having the luxury of building a safe house for children only.
ParentShield provides a mobile network that provides some incredibly powerful features that cannot be provided on an adult’s service:
By applying these controls in a graduated manner it’s possible to slowly increase the power of the mobile phone so capabilities that are inappropriate for a child at a certain level can simply be blocked – in seconds from the Online Portal that every parent has.
By being aware of the sorts of conversations and the types of people that your child is communicating with, it’s possible to have those meaningful conversations at the right time without embarrassment or drama. We know from our own experience that this way it’s possible to remove problems before they even become problems.
Because ParentShield features are all ‘network side’. Parents using our SIM cards never need access of any kind to the Child’s mobile phone. We suggest the first mobile phone lesson for the child is to show them how to set their own phone lock PIN – chosen by themselves and to learn that it’s THEIR phone and their PIN that should never be shared with anyone. It’s a Personal Communication device and learning what personal means is a vital lesson.
With an adult mobile phone service installed this is rarely ever possible if there is any degree of monitoring or control.
As the child grows you can slowly increase the range of people that can be communicated with, increase the hours that the phone can be used etc. It should be plain sailing!
Even with the best preparation, stuff happens! There may be times when you need to reinforce the rules and with ParentShield it’s possible to tighten restrictions so, for example, the phone can only call home, and can only be called by home. This way the phone still provides that vital lifeline by being able to call home, and, in the worst case, can still call the emergency services.
Rather than having the inevitable battle over the confiscation of the phone so it can’t be used late at night or used to vote repetitively for the favourite X-Factor contestant, making changes calmly and from the safety of the next room over the Internet is always preferable.