Whether your kids have had a smartphone for awhile now, or you’re considering getting them started with one, it’s important that they understand how to use it. And as we all know, when it comes to a smartphone, it’s not as simple as dialing a number or sending a text (which they’ll need to learn). Smartphones are also music players, video callers, cameras, and gaming devices (along with a bunch of other things too), and it’s our job to teach them.
Even if you’ve decided that your kids aren’t ready for a smartphone just yet, they can still learn all of these skills so that when they are ready, they’ll be super prepared.
Related: Is your child ready for a smartphone? 7 questions to ask yourself.
With the help of our Out Tech Your Kids Facebook Group, we’re sharing 25 things your kids need to know before they get a smartphone, beyond the very basic understanding that nothing is really private, and anything they share can be seen or shared (whether it’s by their friend, their friend’s parents, you get the idea).
Some of these are for older kids, so use your discretion in terms of what your own kids need to know. This also happens to be a good checklist for adults, too.
Related: How to keep your kids safer on social media
1. How to answer a phone.
2. How to send a text.
3. How to use emojis.
4. How to interact in a group text (and how to leave them).
5. How to FaceTime or video call politely and properly.
6. How to ask for permission to take photos or videos of someone.
7. How to ask someone who takes their photo/video how they will be using it.
8. How to leave a nice comment on social media.
9. How and when to leave a dissenting comment (and when to walk away).
10. How and when to respond to a mean comment (and delete and block someone, if needed).
11. How to share photos.
12. How to make and save passwords.
13. How to respond if someone does something inappropriate online, or in a text (or on a call).
14. How to figure out if an app is okay to download.
15. How to download an app.
16. When is it okay to answer the phone or text?
17. How to dial 911 and what to say.
18. What to do with their phone in an emergency.
19. What to do if they’re stuck with a dead phone.
20. Your phone number, their phone number, and one other person’s phone number, all memorized
21. How to create a contact on their phone.
22. How to properly use their phone in public (headphones are their friend).
23. When to text versus call vs email someone.
24. When, if ever, it’s appropriate to let someone else use their phone.
25. When, if ever, to give someone their phone passcode.
Got more? Leave them in the comments. And be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Digital Parenting for more answers to tough digital parenting questions.