girl looking at phone for a teachable moment

How to turn phones into a teachable moment

Mobile or cell phones can provide you with many everyday opportunities for a teachable moment.

There are many possible discussions to be had, especially in regards to using a phone safely.

And once you start looking, you’ll find plenty of opportunity for teachable moments.

You can read this article to learn more about what a teachable moment is.

Watch the video below to get some ideas on how you can use your child’s first phone for a teachable moment.

Read the transcription

How can we turn your child’s first phone into a teachable moment? Let’s find out.

Hi, I’m Cath Hak from Sex Ed Rescue and this week is all about how to turn your child’s first phone into a teachable moment. This episode is very relevant for me because my daughter began high school this year and started using public transport. So, we had to look at a phone for her.

I have a friend named Corey Peppler who runs a website called Digital Parenting. I go to him for all my information about this because the idea of my child getting a phone was very scary. I hear a lot about bullying and pedophiles over the internet, and on top of that a phone was very expensive. My daughter nagged the life out of me for an iPhone, so we had to have a great conversation about values and responsibility. In the end, I got her a cheap phone from overseas which was still 200 AUD.

Now, Corey Peppler from Digital Parenting, says that when kids get their first phone, they don’t have the maturity to deal with internet access. That a great way to deal with their first phone is just to let them have phone call access. That way, if they’re running late or need you to pick them up, they can just call you. I think that’s a great idea. But my daughter does have monitored internet access so we can cut it off if she uses too much.

There are so many things you need to think about. But, how can we turn your child’s first phone into a teachable moment? One is how to set up a Gmail account. I did set one up for her years ago, but I ended up using it to test some of my Sex Ed Rescue emails, so now there’s lots of sex spam emails in it.

So, because of that I have to teach her about Gmail spam. Ones that say, ‘Hey, can I be your F buddy?’ or, ‘I live in Nigeria and I won the lotto. If you give me your bank details I’ll give you half of the 50 million.’ I teach her how to be cautious of spam like that.

So, for me, a phone is a great opportunity to talk about safety. We can also talk about responsible phone usage. I might ask about how her day is and she’ll go, ‘It was good, but at lunchtime, half of my friends did nothing but sit and watch Netflix.’ I go, ‘Well, if I let you have unlimited internet access on your phone, would you do that?’ She says, ‘No. I’d want to sit and talk with my friends.’ Using phones, I can talk to her about responsible usage.

We can also talk about safety. Whenever we see someone walking and looking at their phone, I’ll ask my kids if they think that’s a safe way to walk. They’ll often go, ‘No. Someone could come up behind them and steal their phone or bag. They could walk in front of a car, or someone might have to get out of the way.’ This all makes for excellent topics for your children.

Once my daughter told me a story about how a boy asked her friend out. So, her friend went over to him and said, ‘I don’t want to go out with you, but we can be friends.’ He agreed and they ended up swapping phone numbers. After hearing that story, I asked my daughter if she would’ve given him her phone number. Because she does have to be careful about who she gives her phone number to. She might even change her number a few times because of an uncomfortable conversation.

Sometimes she might get messages from people who are inappropriate, rude, insulting or even from people she doesn’t know. So, your child having their first phone is an opportunity to talk about so much. But you know what? A year ago, I would have wanted to wait until my daughter was fifteen or sixteen-years-old until I gave her a phone. But recently there’s been more peer pressure for kids to get new phones. Not just from other kids, but from themselves as well since they want to keep up with everyone.

Something that Corey said, who is just full of knowledge, is that you can give your kids a phone at a young age. He doesn’t suggest it, but if you do, they could still be at the age where So with my daughter, she’s still happy to come home and tell me about the crazy stuff that kids do with their devices. Giving her a phone at a young age means that we can still talk while she’s still open and impressionable. So, first phones are just a great opportunity to talk about a lot of stuff.

And look, if you’ve had any conversations with your kids and their phones, I’d love if you commented them down below.

Cheers

About the Author Cath Hakanson

I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.

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