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Mobile phones & social media

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I've been grappling for some time with how to manage mobile phones & social media for AD (aged 13), given her emotional immaturity, impulsivity, lack of self-control - not to mention vulnerability. Thought I'd share what is working for us, at least for the time being.


For the last few years, I held out against a smart phone and AD had a very basic Nokia, with calls and texting only. I sweetened the pill by having a modern iPad at home on which AD can play games and, importantly for her, chat with her friends via Instagram (but only downstairs - no electronics are allowed in her bedroom). This has helped me stop her going on Instagram when worked up by school 'friends' and wanting to vent her feelings....


Recently, I have relented and bought AD a secondhand and very cheap iPhone 4 (just over £50 - appears that nobody wants them). She is completely delighted to have this despite the controls I have put on it: unlike most mobile phones, within settings it is possible to set a 'restrictions password' that AD doesn't know which has enabled me to (1) switch off access to the internet & FaceTime, and (2) disable the downloading of apps including instagram. AD loves the ease of texting, the camera etc and I have said that I will consider allowing her to download a couple of games.


After lots of research, I've also found a monthly package that is working for us. Pay-as-you-go didn't work as AD would use up all her monthly allowance and then I couldn't call her, and I really didn't want a monthly package that automatically charged any excess changes to my bank account. Vodafone has a 'big value bundle' that costs £10 a month. It allows unlimited texts and a good allowance of calls (also a bit of data). Most important for me is that if AD uses up all her minutes, she can no longer make calls but she can still receive them - and at no extra cost to me.


Am certain that these arrangements won't work for much for than a year, but for the time being we are both happy.


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Hi clr1, it works for us too...I totally agree about the advantages of what you describe. we have the same Vodaphone package, ( ds2 is 14 and just upgraded from iPhone5 to 6 , inhereted from older brother, now working, who upgraded himself to further up the iPhone numbers) Me, I am the dedicated 4 user in the family, I actually prefer the 4 for various reasons. Ds2 wants to change company when the contract runs out , as he complains about signal level but I have had no problems that way, and am presently dissembling because the contract price and the restrictions are ideal. Incidentally the restriction password etc are on the 5 and 6 too ( not familiar with the higher numbers, but Vodaphone set up our contract and configured the phone at our request, when they put the sim in.

Our ds2 has a school issue iPad with Instagram to talk to friends, and it goes downstairs for charging every night. We had a few years of him getting into online wrangles till school finally had him trained, and they had worked out how to control the app situation and monitor everyone sensibly. The kids all know how to get unrestricted internet access though , via, I think, a " backdoor app" but they don't push it, so it hasn't been banned. I think the tech support found it better to dissemble a bit as long as folks are moderate in what they do. Complete lockdown just encourages hacking.


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Read with interest. Think this should be standard info for all parents tbh let alone ones with extra vulnerable kids. Thanks


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My oldest has an iphone 4 without internet access and loads of games. It is payg what works fine. Our big problem is not loosing or dropping it.

For my youngest who goes to secondary I will do the following. A £20 nokia payg phone for a year. If he does not loose it, answers when I call, not break it, misuses it in other ways than he gets an iphone 4 as wellthe next year. Just as his brother I block everything exept the camera as long as pictures are appropiate (we had some issues with private parts being pictured).

My oldest has an ipad, my youngest has one day a week ipad access on Thursdays, only games no internet. And I do not care, they learn in school how to internet I have no desire to open up the internet at home. 'Oh but than they use friends internet', you know what? this has not happened, my youngest played by a friend and all they did was games and internet, well that was the first and last time he was allowed there. I even called the mother but she ignored me totally. I do everything to prevent trouble, and if this means my children are loosing out on screen time so it be. By the way they have plenty of interaction and experiences with other children, just no internet, secrecy in bedrooms, other people's houses etc. They both are brain damaged and need protaction against themselves. If children need it (a lot of adopted children do), be not afraid to implement restrictions, or be too concerned about their 'wants', if other things in life go wrong internet willnot go right suddenly. If the child test bounderies andcan not be trusted, the internet is not going to solve this, it only makes it worse!


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I can say that the iPhone 7 has the restriction password as well - given I have it activated on mine (I would assume all iOS devices do). Plus it is on all iPads I have ever used. We are thankfully a way off mobile phones yet as Sqk is still 6 going on 7.


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My DD is a little younger at 9 but I let her out on her own in the local area, she plays out with her friends and rides her bike around our estate. I prefer her to have the ability to be in contact so I gave her an old Nokia non internet phone which only calls and texts. I found it in the back of a drawer. I use a Gifgaf £10 sim with a 500min/ Unlimited text plan. If you are going to go for an old style phone avoid Three network as they require at least a 3G phone for their service.

She has an iPad which is easy to restrict but has no social media and more importantly doesn’t get allowed on games with a network chat as part of the gameplay.

It is also worth noting that with a four digit passcode it only takes an afternoon of bashing in consecutive tries to work it out, especially if it is based on a memorable date.


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My 12 year old has an old iPhone with a £12 monthly Tesco contract. Capped so she can’t go more than £2.50 over her limit. Doesn’t have a passcode because she needs it for school but it has my fingerprint recognition as well as hers so I can check it.


We have parental controls at home set up via our isp. Unfortunately my middle son has figured out that by setting up a vpn he overrides all my controls! No wonder he’s in school’s year student voice on maths and ICT!!


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I have placed an overnight block on Internet access via our home network from each device owned by ds2 to prevent him getting engrossed and missing out on sleep. You do this by accessing the control panel of the router ( modem) and you can then set hours during which access is not allowed to a specific device.

Obviously, as said above, this doesn't work if there are public access areas within range and your child realises this ! We are fortunate here in being out in the suburban sticks and have savvy neighbours.


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All devices are hidden overnight - kept in our bedroom. Apart from our eldest son who likes to talk to his long distance girlfriend. Who thankfully is a very sensible and lovely girl and someone he listens to far more than me!!


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Well , that 's an improvement Donatella, from our eldest whose recent girlfriend conversations have been conducted at full volume , in the kitchen in the morning, when he comes in from night duty !!


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Parents with girls in particular may find the following links useful. I've recently shown both to my AD who watched intently but didn't want to discuss in any details with me (as usual), but the message about the potential dangers was really clear. As she goes to a specialist senior school, their approach to PSHE education is limited at best so am interested in similar materials that other parents find. Wouldn't it be great to have some online resources for adopted teens about the potential issues that they may face....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hK5OeGeudBM


http://www.itsnotokay.co.uk/professionals/kayleigh_s_love_story_film/


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