Moving to Switzerland is hard - but, relocating with children, preteens and teenagers presents its own challenges.
When is the right time to let our kids have a smartphone in Switzerland?
It seems that almost every child in Switzerland has a smartphone.
The advantages to your child having access to technology are clear: in a new country, you want to make sure that your family is safe, accessible and that you're easily in reach in case anything happens.
But how do you handle the transition between your children and their new digital ecosystem? Real parents from the Hello Switzerland community relate their experiences.
It depends on what is right for your family
"My 8 year old has a watch that takes a SIM card and can make and receive phone calls to 3 preprogrammed numbers. We use this when she goes to places alone like the local playground or to the shop up the road.
In our opinion, kids here have far more independence than kids in the United States, but not every kid is mature enough to make smart decisions. It depends on what's right for your family." Stacy S.
When the time is ready
"This is a tough topic. We are slowly introducing first the internet, and then an actual phone with WhatsApp and other apps. Our kids will then have a fully functioning smartphone from 13, ready for high school. It's a challenging time as a parent." Kristin R.
Check your kids' smartphone usage
"We introduced our kids to technology early in life, mostly from necessity. When we moved to Switzerland, we really wanted to be sure that our kids could get in contact with us 24/7.
One point of advice would be: make sure you clearly communicate to your kids (especially teenagers) that you are going to be checking their texts, apps, social media accounts and search history. Once they prove they are responsible, we gradually reduce our need to monitor their usage." Thomas M.
Save usage as a treat
"My 4 and 6 year old "share" a tablet for kids with learning games. We allow very restricted internet usage, as well as restricted time usage. Our family mostly saves this for days when the weather isn't being very compatible! We are not planning for a phone any time soon." Lisa B.
Uncertainty regarding smartphones
"We have an 8 year old and 6 year old, but no smartphones nor tablets. We will allow a mobile phone, although we don't have a specific age in mind. This really depends on their needs (e.g. school far from home, need to stay in touch). But we're still not sure about smartphones though." Maria G.
Teenagers and smartphones – let them be entertained
"I was open to buying our teenagers a smartphone, but my partner was not so happy with this idea. When we started traveling more often back home to Hong Kong (and subsequent hours spent in and around airports), we went ahead and got them both a smartphone.
Now, we think we made the right choice. Our kids love Netflix, being able to buy e-books through Amazon, listening to podcasts – and staying in contact with us, and with their friends and family back home." Tim W.
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