Your Child’s First Phone: Tips and Tools That Every Parent Needs

Haley Zapal | December 19, 2019 | Internet Safety Tips Social Media Monitoring

**This blog post was updated on October 21, 2021.**

Whether you’ve been waiting for an important milestone or have just decided that it’s finally the right time, we know there’s a lot to consider when it comes to getting your kid their first phone. You probably know what to expect from your own device, but how kids interact with phones is a whole different ball game with a completely separate set of rules — and dangers. In this post, we walk you through you everything you need to know to make sure this new rite of passage is as easy, fun, and safe as possible for your kid.

1. Pick the Perfect First Phone

Finding the perfect phone can take some legwork. Luckily, we’ve done the hard part for you and put together lists of devices that the Bark Team — as parents — would feel comfortable putting in the hands of our own children.

2. Talk About the Digital Dangers Your Child May Face

When you give your child their first phone, you’re giving them keys to a larger world. But along with instant communication, access to educational resources, and unlimited entertainment come new dangers that our generation never had to deal with. These blog posts will help get you and your child up to speed on some of the issues that Generation Z faces online.

3. Set Parental Controls for Peace of Mind

Most devices today come with built-in parental controls, which is important when you remember that they can allow the user to view sensitive or inappropriate content, make additional purchases and downloads, and chat with strangers. Use our comprehensive guide to parental controls — the one-of-a-kind Barkomatic — to prevent headaches, save valuable time, and help keep your kids safe online and in real life.

Generation Z uses social media platforms that may not be as popular with our generation. So how do you know if what they want to use is safe? The easiest way to determine if your child should have access to a certain platform is to test it out for yourself. These handy guides will also give you an idea of what’s age-appropriate for your child. Here’s what parents need to know about:

5. Make a Technology Contract Together

A technology contract is a great way for your family to collaborate on rules for using devices and accessing the internet. It can help make sure the whole family is on the same page about how to get the most out of technology, and — most importantly — how to be better protected online. The contract should answer questions such as who your child can talk to online, what hours of the day they can access their smartphone, what apps they can download, and what happens if the rules are broken. Use the guide below to get started:

6. Monitor Online Activities with Bark

Kids today face many dangers when it comes to being online. Not only can they easily delete messages and images, make additional accounts, and hack the settings to get around these obstacles, but the default parental control settings also don’t allow you to really know what your kid is experiencing online. And what parent has time to read through every message, scroll through every feed, or watch every video that your child encounters?

Bark is the only monitoring solution that gives children privacy while giving parents insight into potential issues like cyberbullying, sexual content, depression/suicidal ideation, threats of violence, and more. Check out the following blog posts for more information about what we monitor, how to talk to your child about our service, and what to do when you’re alerted to potential issues:

Our award-winning service monitors more than 24 different apps and social media platforms — as well as text, chat, email, and YouTube — so that parents and guardians can help protect their kids from digital dangers. We know that it can be daunting — and a little bit scary — to get your kid their first phone. But with a strong digital safety net in place, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing they’re better protected in the digital age. When you’re ready to try Bark, you can sign up for a free, one-week trial.

About Bark

Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.

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