Even when they're really young, many children want their own devices. Some may feel pressure from their friends to get the latest gadget and that pressure can be passed to you.

We're here to help you figure out what device to get and how to make sure it's used safely.

The Family Tablet Bundle from O2

Talk: having the conversation

Try to make conversations about their online world part of your everyday chats. That way, you can remind them how to stay safe. And they'll know they can come to you if they're ever worried.

Explore: choosing your device

When you're deciding what to buy, think about how it will be used. Just for playing games and watching films? Or for homework and school projects too? That will help you work out if you need a tablet, laptop or phone. You can always speak to one of our O2 Gurus if you need a hand.

If you buy a phone or tablet, you'll need a Pay As You Go or Pay Monthly sim. Pay Monthly can be better value, but might be expensive if your child goes over their allowance. With Pay As You Go you have a bit more control. Once all the credit is used up, that's it until you top up again.

As most devices can connect to the internet, get to know the security settings and parental control options. And if they're going to be carrying the device around, you might want to think about taking out insurance.

Agree: setting the ground rules

You might want to agree on some ground rules for how your child uses their gadget. If you need help, think about:

  • How long are you happy for them to use it each day?
  • Is there a time of day you don't want them to use it?
  • Where can they use it? Can they have it in their bedroom overnight?
  • Do they have a limit on how much they can spend each month?
  • Consider family rules like not using devices at the dinner table.
  • What are the consequences if they break these rules?

As you discuss the rules, make sure you explain the reasons behind them. Set a date to review them to check they're working.

Need help creating ground rules with your family?

Take a look at our family agreement template. It’s designed to help you create a set of rules that works for your family.

Don’t forget to review your rules together regularly to keep them up to date.

Manage: taking control

Use the ParentControlsOn website, from Internet Matters, to find out how to make your new device child-safe.

Show your child how to turn off Bluetooth and location services. Explain to them that leaving these on can open up their phone to people in the area or give information on where they've been. Talk your child through online privacy and what they should and shouldn't share online.

If you're really concerned, you can download software to their device that monitors their activity. It will report every text they send, every call they make and every website they go on. But this is an invasion of privacy and you run the risk of alienating your child and leaving them less likely to talk to you.

For more help you can always book an appointment with one of our O2 Gurus.

Get a Family Tablet Bundle

Let your kids explore the digital world safely, with our Family Tablet Bundle. You’ll get an Alcatel Pixi3 8 tablet, plus a 24 month subscription to the Azoomee app. And we’ll throw in a colourful case and screen cover to protect your tablet from bumps, scrapes and scratches.

Azoomee lets your kids view safe, handpicked content on their tablet. They can learn as they play, watch their favourite shows and share their creations. And they can’t leave the app unless you enter your pin. So you can relax, knowing the kids are entertained - safely.

Plus, Azoomee will donate £4 to the NSPCC when you activate your subscription through our Family Tablet Bundle.

How to make your iPhone or iPad child-safe
  1. On the home screen, go to Settings and choose General.
  2. Scroll down and click Restrictions.
  3. Click Enable Restrictions. Choose a passcode your child won't guess but you'll remember.
  4. Then just choose which apps your child can use.
How to make apps child-safe on Android devices
  1. Open the Play Store app and click the menu (the three lines in the top left corner of your screen).
  2. Choose Settings and scroll down to User controls.
  3. Click Parental controls and click On. Choose a pin your child won't guess but you'll remember.
  4. Then just choose which apps your child can use.

How to keep your children's devices secure


Other ways to get in touch

The children pictured are models. Photography by Tom Hull.