5 things to know about getting your first smartphone

1. Don’t let it own you

It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of spending too much time on your phone.

A lot of adults worry that giving you a phone means you will stop communicating with them.

Prove them wrong. Use it to keep in touch with the adults in your life as well as your friends. Spend time on things that make you laugh or make you happy. Most importantly - know when to put it down and take a break.

2. What are the rules?

Whoever bought you your phone may have already set some rules on what you can and can't do. Sort out your family's rules right at the beginning, and make sure they apply to everyone. No phones at the table? That applies to adults too!

Rules to live by:

Keep all your passwords to yourself.

Keep your apps up-to-date. Updates are designed to fix weaknesses and installing them as soon as possible will help keep your devices safe from potential hackers or criminals.

Bonus tip: never take your phone to the toilet! Here's why.

3. Set yourself boundaries

It might sound boring but boundaries can be a good thing. Having a few tech-free hours each day can clear your mind.

Set night time mode so you don’t get alerts or messages between certain hours at night. The blue light from screens can affect your sleep patterns if you're using your device close to bed time. 

It’s okay not to be ‘on’ all the time.

4. Don’t follow the herd

“Have you got the latest app?” “Did you see that video last night?” “Have you tried the new filter?”

You don’t have to have every app everyone else has, or change who you are to fit with an online ideal.

Your phone belongs to you and no one else, so make it yours! 

5. Share the love

If you wouldn't say something to someone's face, or in front of your granny or favourite teacher, you probably shouldn't say it online.

Phones can be hacked. Messages can be screen-grabbed.  Things can end up places you wouldn't want them to go.

If you see something that makes you unhappy, put your phone down and talk to someone in real life. Things can feel like they’re out of control online but taking some time in the real world might help you put things into perspective.

Not everyone online is your friend. Don’t feel bad about not accepting requests or blocking anyone that makes you feel unhappy. Surround yourself with love!

And remember ... always be kind to yourself online.

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