These days our mobile devices seem like the centerpiece of our lives – we use them for communication, entertainment, work, school and nearly everything in between. That’s why, AT&T and the American Academy of Pediatrics launched new tools to help parents considering purchasing their child’s first smartphone.

With the new doctor-backed PhoneReady Questionnaire and Family Media Plan, families can create their own path for technology use. 

There are 3 conclusions – that your child is in the “Ready” zone, the “Almost Ready” zone, or the “Not Yet Ready” zone. And remember, these aren’t etched in stone. The quiz may determine that your child is ready, but as parents you aren’t ready. That’s ok. Or your child may not be ready, but you really need a way to stay connected. Remember, we’re here to help – there are simpler phones, watches, and other ways to go about it.

First, be a present parent. Talk to your kids about how they’re using their phones – have them show you their favorite games and apps – and warn them about some of the things you want them to avoid.
Second, remind them that their words matter. I like to use the “mom or teacher” test – don’t post something or send a text that you wouldn’t want your mom or teacher to see. You can’t un-send those texts and
Finally, most wireless carriers offer parents an app for a small monthly fee that combines content filtering, screen-time regulation and location services. Ours is called “AT&T Secure Family.” I know people can sometimes bristle at the idea of a phone locator for your kids, but it’s all in how you use it. Your kids WILL lose their phone! It’s nice to be able to find it. And remember, AT&T has new location-based 911 technology that works automatically with the GPS on your phone so that emergency crews can find you much faster in an emergency – and right now that technology is only on AT&T.