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We all worry about our kids’ tech time and now that my son, Oliver, 9, has got his first mobile phone (lucky kid-mine was a BIG OL’ BRICK at the age of 16), it’s vital I’m in control of his usage and feel able to protect him at all times.
my son's first phone

Thanks to Carphone Warehouse and Nokia who are promoting the must-have Family Link app, I honestly feel comfortable and happy about him having a phone (and I wasn’t sure that I ever would).

phone

The Family Link app encourages healthy digital habits thanks to its safeguarding features which allow you to feel reassured about your child using a phone.

phones
The app is incredibly useful as you can locate your child if they get lost in the park for example, and it allows you to manage and pre-approve what they consume/buy, and how long they spend online. 
 child's first phone
Oliver and I were kindly gifted a mother and son matching Nokia 7.1 phone and a Nokia 3.1 several weeks ago which immediately saw us put the Family Link app to good use.
Nokia phones
There are of course, understandably concerns around children having phones, with the fear of too much screen time, access to inappropriate content, stranger danger, spending, and online bullying and thankfully the Family Link app addresses all of these, ensuring children get the best out of tech while parents and guardians can keep them monitored and safe.
We both like the security a phone brings and the fact, if needed, Oliver has a way to contact me or anyone else, in an emergency. He recently got lost in the play area of a hotel we were staying at and was able to phone me instantly. Phones can also be stimulating, educational and fun.
Oliver loves messaging his friends after school via the multiplayer game, Roblox, and he equally enjoys Doodle Maths, an educational app he requests to work on, every single night (no joke). 
He is only 9 though so requires an education in positive phone use and this is where the Family Link app comes in.

It is connected to both of our mobile phones simultaneously and allows me to stop any apps being bought without my pre-approval, or content viewed without me validating on my own phone first. These useful notifications which pop up when Oliver tries to watch/buy allow me to approve or block apps from the Google Play Store and manage in-app purchases.  I can even hide apps from his device thanks to the Family Link app, and all from my own phone.

family

What I love most about the app is that it allows me to help Oliver make healthy decisions on what he does on his device so he becomes autonomous. The app supplies me with activity reports showing how much time Oliver has spent on his phone and he’s often surprised at what he says feels like 5 minutes online is actually 20!
It also offers me teacher recommended suggestions for apps which is helpful as finding suitable apps for children can be a minefield.

I also set screen time limits during the week via the app, as well as placing the phone into bedtime mode when it’s time to switch off and rest. I can also lock Oliver’s phone to prevent him relying on it to much, and do so when it’s time to play outside, do homework or have dinner together.

Oliver is only allowed to play on his phone once a week during the school week (usually on a Wednesday for 1 hour after school) and for 2 hours (staggered) on a Saturday and Sunday. The Family Link app allows me to manage that schedule and change it if I need to, too: ie a long car journey or flight.

Again, this teaches Oliver about the importance of balance and digital breaks-something we parents could do with too.

So, I’m taking note and now I have this simple and effective app to help me manage Oliver’s online habits, I have more me-time to enjoy a cup of tea, and less time stressing over Oliver’s phone use.

Honest Mum

The only problem now is that Alexander, 6, wants a phone too! Argh!

Honest Mum and family

Have you used the Family Link app yet?

 

This is a sponsored post but as always my views and experiences are honest.

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11 Responses

  1. Md Tariqul islam

    I would like to read more insight from you! Also I am going to share this blog immediately. Awesome!
    Excellent site you have here. I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get responses from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. Appreciate it!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further post thanks once again.

    Reply
  2. your DIY family

    This app sounds so great – just what I need. A hasn’t yet got a phone and I won’t be getting her one just yet but when I do, it’s so helpful to know that an app like this exists. Thanks for sharing x

    Reply
  3. Mirka Moore

    Such a clever app! We cannot keep our children away from phones forever. As long as they are safe and don’t spend too much time online, playing games, why not? Isabelle got hers at the end of year 5, as she wasn’t really bothered about having one before. Now that she is at a secondary school, they actually need it even at school to do research, help with learning. Nice shots of you all xxx

    Reply
  4. Zaz

    This is so clever Vicki – of course I won’t mention to Coco (aged 10) that Oliver already has a phone!! Although some of her friends do, I’ve said she can have one when she can pay the bills! But joking aside, part of my reticence has been about good phone habits, and the fear factor, but perhaps the Family Link app will put my mind at rest!

    Reply
  5. Arua chioma

    I have been so worried for when its time to get my 7year old daughter a phone cos the truth is they will need it at some point in their lives and there is nothing we can do about it. But with this kind of app you just mentioned, i think we will all be just fine. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  6. Uju

    Wow this app sounds great, super helpful and something all parents should look into. It’s been tough monitoring what content the boys view. Jed has an iPod Touch, inherited from Ezra, he’s not allowed a phone until secondary but can still access a lot via the iPod.

    I do worry about stuff like WhatsApp and social media with Ezra, but he’s a sensible boy on the whole, so we have lots of conversations and also he knows that at any time, I can ask for his phone to have a thorough inspection of it. But it would be great to have an app that lets me keep a closer eye on things, especially for the younger one. Thanks for sharing. Also, you look hot mama 😉 x

    Reply
  7. Juliet McGrattan

    My sister was asking me at what age my kids got their phones, its so tricky isn’t it. All children are different BUT its good to know that there’s an app like this which can help you keep control of screen time and content and keep them safe when you do decide to take the plunge. Top tip – thanks
    Juliet McGrattan recently posted…Quick Question – How can I stop needing to poo when I exercise?My Profile

    Reply
  8. Joanne Szczyglowski - The Ealing Mummy

    I think children having their own phones will always be a debatable topic, however I think if it aids safety and the use is carefully monitored then it is a good thing. Plus, if a child is educated at a younger age about how to use mobile phones safely, then they will understand from the start the importance of not having too much screen time and the importance of talking to a trusted adult if they ever have any concerns.

    Reply
  9. Sally Bunkham

    Ooooh I’d never heard of anything that kid and parent friendly before. My girls are only 3 and 4 and already very keen on a phone. Good to know there’s safe options like that out there…I had no idea x

    Reply
  10. Angela Milnes

    This was a really interesting read. Sylvia has asked for a cell phone for her 11th birthday and I’ve been needing to read an article like this for reassurance. I want her to have a phone so she can contact me easily when she is at running club or walking home from school etc but I wasn’t sure if it was the right age. Now I feel more confident about it. Also I’m tired of getting messages from all her friends to my own phone lol! I love that you have rules for when the phone can be used and think monitoring and guidelines such as those you have implemented are really important. Thanks for sharing this.. it has really helped me out.

    Reply

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