Looks like you feel your family/child is ready for a phone and that's awesome!
Here are some things to know beforehand and some of our suggestions so you are prepared!
First things first:
LookUp is NOT anti-screen. We are very aware of the world that we live in and believe in the right Preventative Care approach to help integrate technology in your home while still protecting your kids' brains and hearts.
Some things to know and remember:
All screen use releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the feel-good, reward chemical that we naturally get from moments like finishing a good book or organizing your closet. We are meant to get drips of dopamine to maintain/create homeostasis in our brain. Screens, especially used for entertainment such as gaming, YouTube, or social media, provides an overload of dopamine creating dopamine dumps- this is tragically what happens with gambling, cocaine use and pornography use. This can make it extremely difficult to enjoy the little dopamine drips in life and can quickly create an addiction to screens. Many big tech companies are depending on screen addiction for the life of their product. They are not worried about anyone's mental health or well-being, especially your kids.
LookUp encourages families to enter the world of tech gradually. One way to do so is to set realistic boundaries and expectations:
-Don't use screens as a boredom buster
-Entertainment stays home (no need at the restaurant)
-Encourage emotional regulation without screens
-Social skills are more important than screens (even socializing on screens isn't strong enough for our kids to develop appropriate social skills)
-Access to the world wide web, whether through google, social media, or an innocent game has higher risk and potential of toxicity
-Before allowing your child to have social media, can they name at least 10 harms that come with getting an account? LookUp has a running list of 20+ toxicities with social media. How many can you name?
-Invest in a simple phone that can be used by all members of the family. Think of this as your home phone that stays in the same location but kids can use to communicate with friends and family members.
-The MOST IMPORTANT piece to parenting and navigating this world of screens is to prioritize your relationship with your child. Keep the conversation going and model healthy tech use behavior.
We have a tech agreement just for you! This is our gift to you so that setting up the right expectations for your family is a breeze! Just click the button below and it's all yours!
While apple products are the most popular and seem to be the easiest choice, we actually do not suggest apple products for our kids. Apple has proven time and time again to not care much about the safety of our kids and makes getting around parental controls extremely easy.
Even an apple watch, that is seemingly fine, opens the door for the next step to be an iPhone. We encourage all families to stay away from giving apple products to their kids for their own sanity and family protection.
(this includes iPads as well)
If not the iPhone, then what? Androids/Samsungs have been wonderful for parents. As an apple girl myself, I thought I wouldn't like it but I am so thankful that my kids have a Samsung instead!
We chose to get the Bark phone (which is a Samsung) because it puts the parent in full management position. You can check out Bark here.
Bark phones are great for the growing teen that may be ready for certain apps eventually. It can be a simple phone or have all the apps you are comfortable with your child having. It really is the best of both worlds.
Regardless of phone, you need the Bark program (even if you go the apple route) to help monitor, block, and set time limits.
Another great option is the Gabb Phone that you can find HERE. Gabb is a wonderful company that has worked hard to create a phone that looks smart but is as simple as it gets! Only call, text and GPS is found on Gabb products and frankly, that's all that our kids need!
It's hard knowing which route to take and how to manage it all. It gets so overwhelming so quickly. LookUp is here to help answer any questions or concerns you have! We've been at this for quite awhile and if we don't have an answer for something, we will help find it!
Is your family ready to enter the Social Media world? At LookUp we don't recommend social media until around the age of 16 but we are here to help guide the way if your teen is ready!
Our article on social media specifics is still in the works so please reach out if you need help in the meantime!