Tech Check: Smartphones for children - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Tech Check: Smartphones for children

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ATLANTA -

It is one of those issues parents now face with the advent of the latest tech generation: When should your children get smart phones? And now is a good time to buy with all the holiday sales.

Smartphone colors are so alluring this year from the Moto X to the iPhone 5C, they can look very attractive to children. Christmas is huge for smartphone sales, especially as presents for the kids. Seems this is the time parents will break down and buy the first one or trade up for the bigger one.

Verizon has some advice for parents on the topic. They say that children need to know how to use it appropriately and safely. The other thing is they need to know what should and should be shared online or through their smartphone directly to others.

According to the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project states that 78-percent of children ages 12 to 18 have smartphones up from 23-perecent in 2011.

But bad news for parents, according to Verizon, 57-percent of children had their smartphones damaged or stolen. So, it is very important that the phone is gifted with a good case, not just a cheap case.

Parents might also want to consider a low-cost insurance plan or extended warranty. Those plans usually run about $10 a month and cover loss, theft, water damage or even complete absence of the phone.

The top reasons parents buy smartphones for their children is that parents want to be able to reach them or locate them quickly and easily. And now there are free apps to track you kids, where they are and where they have been, but the challenge is that parents need to know how to operate the device just as well, if not better than the children.

Some parenting websites recommend starting cheap with a flip phone and upgrading from there. Also, it would cut costs and even help parents be more flexible by using pay-as-you-go plans.

Got a question about smartphones for children? Drop FOX 5's Doug Evans a line at facebook.com/DougEvansFOX5 or on Twitter at @DougEvansFOX5.

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