One of the objectives in my child psychology practice is to help parents and children have a healthy, age appropriate dialogue about important topics. That ability to communicate openly with your child also applies to the time when your child has their own smartphone or tablet.
In my professional opinion, parents should not just hand them the phone or iPad and hope all will be well. As a caring parent, you want them to come to you and discuss their plans. Especially plans that may carry some risk. For example, if your twelve year old comes to you says, “My friends and I are sleeping over in Times Square tonight, okay?”, you may have some reservations and guide them to a better plan or simply say, no… or maybe when you are older you and your friends can get a hotel room and stay there.
Many Digital Native children do not see their smartphone use as carrying such a risk, so I recommend forcing the issue a bit by requiring a discussion before buying or downloading apps, games or movies onto their personal devices. This gives you an opportunity to do a little research and see if the requested download is age appropriate or not.
Apple iTunes offers a great option called ‘Ask To Buy’. With this set up, it alerts your phone (the adult) and takes you directly to the item in iTunes so you can decide if this app is appropriate now, not at all, or perhaps for a later time or age. That helps keep a healthy dialogue going and also protects your wallet! Your child won’t be able to freely order app after app without your discussion, quick review and permission. You are in control. Once you decide, it’s simple. Press Decline or Approve.
How to setup Ask to Buy?
- Make sure your child has their own iCloud account setup
- Make sure they are logged into the device with their iCloud email address and password
- Make sure your iCloud on your device has ‘Ask To Buy’ selected when you select your child’s iCloud account