Top tips for managing your child’s first phone

Heading off to secondary school is a big milestone for your child, and something that often comes along with it is getting their very first mobile phone.

Our focus is on helping children and families choose well by providing them with the guidance they need to help them choose what’s right for them and avoid what’s not.

Here’s some handy tips to help you navigate managing your child’s very first phone. 

Parental Filters

We work with mobile network operators - including EE, Three, Vodafone and O2 - to keep children safe online. We use our Mobile Classification Framework to set standards for websites on 3G and 4G networks, so children under 18 don’t see don't see content that's only suitable for adults. These are automatically put on all phones when you buy them. You can also ask them in the shop to make sure that they are applied, for extra peace of mind. 

Managing screen time

Managing screen time can be a big challenge, not only for your child but for the whole family. Talk to your children about the amount of time you're all spending online, and agree some ground rules together. There are also some great, free apps out there to help you set some firm limits, should you want to. 

Watching films and TV shows

There’s nothing better than having the latest episode of your favourite TV show right there in your pocket. Lots of streaming services carry our trusted age ratings that you know from the cinema and DVDs, including Netflix, Prime Video and Apple TV. Did you know that actually, 100% of content on Netflix carries a BBFC rating? You can be safe in the knowledge that whatever your child chooses to watch on that platform, they’ll have access to the age ratings and our ratings info. 

Parental Controls

Parental controls are a useful tool for putting you in control of what your child sees on their phone. You can set these directly on your child’s phone, and other apps - like Netflix - will also have their own for your peace of mind. But controls aren’t always 100% effective, so you could encourage your child to talk about anything upsetting they might have seen. 

Fun, educational, safe sites and apps 

The app store is so vast, it is difficult to know where to start! We have a whole host of fun, educational activities on our website and free app that are perfect for children, and will start to get them thinking critically about film, and help them develop their digital resilience. Check out our Movie Night packs, and our rate a trailer activity - where your child can step into the shoes of a BBFC Compliance Officer and give a trailer an age rating. You can also check out our top tips for viewing films safely online on our children’s website.