How to Prepare Kids For Smartphones: $50 Gift Card Giveaway!

This is a sponsored post by Verizon Wireless. All opinions are my own.

Are your kids ready for smartphones? Sometimes it's tricky to tell. Here's how to prepare your kids for smartphones for when they're ready #ad #vzfamilytech

I always joke with my kids about the “good ole days” before smartphones.

If we’re being honest, though, I don’t really think life was better then! And I’m not even sure it was simpler. I remember printing out map directions to places and I remember setting times with people to meet them, pick them up, get picked up, etc. and it wasn’t always seamless. If you had told the old me that I’d one day have the whole world at my fingertips, I wouldn’t have been able to even imagine it. Not yet. And if you had told me I’d have to make decisions for my kids based on having the whole world at their fingertips? No. Way. On. Earth. It’s a unique situation to have, as well as a personal one.

Every family is different and has a different way of approaching smartphones. This one is ours!

How to Prepare Kids For Smartphones:

1 – Write up a contract! And maintain it, because what’s relevant now might not be relevant in a year. Technology changes fast. What you put in your contract may differ but for us, we might put that we have the right to check the phone at any time without warning. Or about smartphone use at home and in public. And how much privacy should be respected, etc.

There should be consequences if the contract is broken.

2 – Talk to your children about inappropriate texts and photos. It’s a tough conversation to have, but probably one of the most important. Let your kids know about the real legal and emotional implications involved in sending, sharing or forwarding inappropriate messages. And let them know that what they release into the internet could be there to stay.

3 – Speaking of which, talk to them about cyberbullying. Talk about the steps to take when cyberbullying occurs. And make sure you have all of their passwords for your own use, should you need it. The conversation isn’t just about smartphones being breeding grounds for cyberbullies. You should talk to your kids both about being bullied and about BEING the bully.

4 – Set limits on the smartphones. For us, that’s no smartphones in the bedroom after lights out. Maybe we’ll set a “phone curfew” that will probably be later on weekend nights than weekday nights but will still mean that the phone is handed over at that time. Also, no smartphones during family time, out at restaurants, at the dinner table, and with grandparents.

5 – Next, only let them set up social media accounts and apps with your consent, and make sure you research the platform or app if it’s new to you. You’ll need to monitor HOW your child uses the phone. Establish good habits early.

6 – Next, talk to your kids about not texting and driving! This is also one of the more important conversations you’ll have.

7 – Then, use smartphones as teaching opportunities. Maybe they can pay part or all of their smartphone bills, or at least understand and appreciate the costs it takes to run a smartphone these days, even with a family plan.

8 – Model good phone behavior. That means don’t stare at your screen when your kids are talking to you. Put your phone down in the places and situations in which you ask the same of your kids – church, dinner, family time, with loved ones, etc.

9 – Consider a GizmoWatch first. A GizmoWatch can help teach kids responsibility and help give you control. They have 2-way voice calls and messaging, managed screen time, real-time GPS, and are plenty family friendly.

10 – Lastly, always remember that it’s YOUR phone and these are YOUR rules, for the time being. Teach with love.

Are your kids ready for smartphones? Sometimes it's tricky to tell. Here's how to prepare your kids for smartphones for when they're ready #ad #vzfamilytech

Do you feel more ready, because I certainly do!

As much prep as it may take to prepare kids for smartphones, there are many benefits to letting them own a smartphone. You’ll know where your kids are, how to reach them, and who they’re calling and texting. Verizon has wonderful services like smart family GPS tracking. A smartphone helps keep your kids organized with sports, part time jobs, homework, and school. It can help with chores when you use apps, accessories and rewards. And it can bring you closer as a family. Scarlet uses a messenger and can write me from her tablet. I’ve found out how witty and emoji-driven she can be!

Are your kids ready for smartphones? Sometimes it's tricky to tell. Here's how to prepare your kids for smartphones for when they're ready #ad #vzfamilytech

I believe this is a topic we are all approaching as parents, or will soon – monitoring your child’s online activity. What I love is that Verizon Wireless has created tools that help us balance trust and safety. They have tracking programs and apps that limit teens’ online activity. And they’re dedicated to bridging the gap between safety and freedom, which is important!

The Pew Research Center found that 61% of parents “have checked which websites their teen has visited” last year. We can all agree that parents face a delicate balance between giving teens privacy and freedom to express themselves, and also in ensuring protection from the potential dangers of the internet. It’s a topic that’s on all of our minds, and lately.

And that’s why I’m hosting a giveaway to get you all pumped up to discover these programs and apps!

Giveaway for $50 VISA gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can read all about the The Parents’ Guide to Kids and Tech and tell me if it resonates!

So, how did you know your kids were ready for smartphones?

I Can Show You the World, Shining, Shimmering, Splendid

So yeah – I’ve had the Aladdin song in my head for days.

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is: In 2019, I want to... Link up with yours!

It wasn’t until just over a year ago that I finally went on the Magic Carpet Ride at Disney World.

It wasn’t around when I first went at age 4, and it wasn’t around when I second went at age 11. After that, it surely coincided with my phobia of spinning, or my lack of patience with waiting in lines. I remember waiting for Scarlet to go on it so I could take photos of her flying by. Her hair hadn’t been combed in DAYS and it was starting to get scary. She went to sleep wearing a candy necklace that then got stuck in her hair, and get this, Cassidy ate a piece of candy off it! I grimaced about it in line and a lady standing nearby cracked up. Obviously I have photos of what her hair looked like that day.

It was a real bear to comb that out, but I did it.

Last year I went on the ride because Scarlet’s best friend’s family convinced me and I didn’t mind waiting, if I was waiting with them. And Scarlet’s hair was combed and even with a terrible spinning equilibrium and a phobia of spinning, I’m ok on those kinds of circular rides with wide berths. They don’t actually do a thing to me. My inner ears don’t protest as we go round and round. Rather, I just flew. All I could do was get a photo to show my aunt because her daughter loved that ride. She passed away after a lifetime of smiling through cerebral palsy and that day, that ride, was a highlight of her short life.

I’m glad I can fly sometimes. Oh, what a waste it would be otherwise.

Which brings me to Finish the Sentence Friday’s prompt: “In 2019, I want to…” It’s either a 10 things listicle or just plain writing prompt. I’m never one to shy away from a top ten list. And I don’t know that I’ll get to do all of these things, but I’m ready to put heart plans and heart minds and heart hands in motion. I do know that I’m happiest with the wind in my hair in front of me and behind me and beside me. I know that sometimes the demons creep up and it’s really hard to fight them.

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is: In 2019, I want to... Link up with yours!

I’d love to believe you can’t tell, but how could you not? My family can tell, and that is perhaps the worst. I know I’m happiest when I’m letting go and I know that I used to be more calm with a handful of stormy days, and then it got to be half-and-half, and now sometimes it’s more storm and less calm – which is this still and brightly colored boat in between the swells of storms – in that sweet spot staying afloat. Under that one beam of sun and over that one patch of calm waters.

I’ll take it.

Sometimes I’m sinking and sometimes sinking without suffering. Always thinking about how storms come back, and even more always thinking about the fact that sunshine always comes back. And I can sail and soar and fly, I can. I can take it in.

In 2019..I want to…

1 – I want to try a new roller coaster or maybe Splash Mountain or something else that soars. Just a few days from now..

2 – I’d love to actually go somewhere on a plane more than once this year. We always do the Orlando trip but nothing else! I haven’t been to California in 8 years! I haven’t been to Greece or Alaska for the Northern Lights or..so many places.

3 – I want to finally rent that cabin on Moosehead Lake in Maine. It’s always a big dream of mine but I never plan it because I’m not a good planner or leader and Cassidy never seems interested. But with one of his favorite bands playing in Maine this summer, I think we might all four be on board for days of moose safaris, whoopie pies, and Phish concerts.

4 – I want to get passports for the kids so that they can see Niagara Falls from all angles. And I might skip this year in telling Scarlet that she was conceived on the New York side of Niagara Falls. You know why, right? It’s boring there!

5 – Speaking of which, I want to see where my mom is from and she’s from Rochester so I think a trip to upstate NY and parts of Canada is in order. So much to see and do and eat in bakeries that have magical cookies. That’s what I want.

6 – I’d like to have a better work/life balance which I’ve already started to have, but it’s only because the busy seasons of blogging and photography have just ended. That said, the work is coming in now and it’s steady and perfect.

7 – I’d like to make regular coffee dates and lunch dates with local friends. And I’d like to meet new friends!

8 – I’d like to see old friends. I sort of got terrible about that with kids and work but I used to be much better about paying visits to my loved ones. Now it’s like I get too nervous or something. I miss you all, though!

9 – I want to eat all the foods and this really needs to be the year I get more consistently active, more hydrated, and more eating fruits and vegetables with every meal. I’d honestly be a superhero if I did all that, considering that I generally feel pretty great and I do none of the above. It’s like I’m on borrowed time, though, and it has to be running out.

10 – I want more little ones. Probably not a dog, and definitely not a cat. Nothing that belongs in the sky or the water, and nothing that poops pellets. Maybe more chickens. Maybe cousins, nieces and nephews? A goat? Just more littles.

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “In 2019, I want to…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on any of the matters: HERE.

What would you say?