Responsibility around devices

We all know that devices like tablets, computers and smart phones are expensive. Losing one of these devices is not quite the same as losing a school hat or breaking a tennis racket.

So when it’s time to set your child up with a device of their own, it pays to have some ground rules in place to ensure you won’t be paying more than you need to in replacements and repairs.

Talk to your child about the device
Before you even hand over the device to your child, sit down and explain to them its value. If your child is old enough to have a device, they should be old enough to understand how to take care of it, even if this is in very simple terms. That means having conversations about responsible use of text messaging, and data use, but it also means making them aware of the monetary cost of replacing the device if they were to break it or lose it.

Having open dialogue about what is expected of your child when it comes to having a device of their own means they are aware of the rules and can appreciate the cost to parents if devices are not cared for.

Make your child responsible
That means ensuring they know where the device is at all times. After they are finished using the device make sure they have a place to put it. Talk to your child about storing the device in their school bag when it is not in use after hours and get them to check it’s there before coming home for the day.

If you're concerned about your child leaving the device at school, consider putting a checklist in their school bag for them to cover each day before leaving. For younger children, this might just be a picture of each thing they need to have in their bag hat, lunchbox, device.

When at home, get your child to put the device away in a safe place to charge when not in use to avoid it being accidentally damaged by drops and spills.

Do not let your child use the device without having appropriate protection
Don’t make the mistake of not purchasing adequate protection for the device when you first get it home. Many of us purchase a device with every intention of later buying a case only to be heart broken when it is dropped in the first day. You should see items like covers and screen protectors as a necessary inclusion. Although the upfront cost may be more than simply paying for the device, it will save you money in the long run.

Do your research, not all covers are the same. Some are simply designed as accessories, more for visual appeal. Others have been proven to be waterproof, dust proof and drop proof, all of which you’ll want if the device is primarily used by children. As children get older they may wish to personalise their device using fashionable accessories. Make a rule that your child may choose the cover, from a pre-approved list of those which offer adequate protection and an extended warranty is recommended.

Think about creating a device contract with your child
If you are ready to give your child a device of their own, or the school requires them to have one, consider implementing a device contract with your child. This can obviously include items focused on online safety, like parent controlled passwords, but you can also include things to keep the device safe and functioning properly. Make your child responsible for charging the battery as recommended and if desired, stipulate that no food or drink is to be consumed while using the device.

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