Mobile phones & social media
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.