September 8, 2020

Back to School Essentials: A Parent Guide

Written by madison

Tips & Tricks

The time has come when we send our kids back to school. As a parent you are most likely prepping and planning for the new school year, reading up on tech gadget recommendations which might leave you wondering, "S_hould I get my teen a phone_?"

While you're weighing the pros and cons of getting them the latest tech gadget, one of the first things you should consider is online safety. Making your online debut is not unlike making your physical one at the first day of school. There are, of course, guidelines to follow. So we put together a TextNow Parent Guide that covers everything from how to use TextNow safely to general smartphone safety tips. Regardless of whether your teen gets started on TextNow or not, we believe these are still key safety points that you should go over with them as soon as they're ready to use their first smartphone. So let's check some of them out.

Is My Child Allowed To Use This App?

Before giving them the reins, you should go over the age restrictions of certain apps. They can be found in the description of the app in the respective app store in your phone, and you can even set parental controls in the settings to ensure that no apps with a pre-determined age limit can be installed without the password/verification of the account holder (yourself).

Will They Be Protected?

Our users' safety is the most important to us at TextNow. So we've included some general online safety tips to follow, whether you are kicking off a conversation with a new friend, or simply navigating the new online world. It's recommended you walk through these guidelines together with your child before they start using their new phone:

  • Do not share any personal information online

  • Create secure passwords for all your accounts (it's recommended that your password included both upper and lower case letters, a number, a special character and be minimum 8 characters long!)

  • Avoid completing checkouts or even account set-ups when using a public, unsecured WiFi

  • Be cautious when downloading content on your phone---a good practice is to only open attachments from trustworthy contacts.

What If They Receive Harassing Messages?

The anonymity of the internet can lend itself to what we like to call "bad actors"---the ones who may use it to send not-so-pleasant messages. Every social/communication app has a terms of use policy to help mitigate such use cases, and you can find either a "report" action on some of them (such as Instagram or TikTok), or even contact their abuse team directly for further assistance. When it comes to TextNow, we also offer the ability to block any numbers easily through the app, and you can change your number (for free) through the app if you'd rather just start fresh.

So I guess the only question you may have left is...

How Much Will It Cost Me?

We know back to school shopping can hurt your wallet, especially when it comes to tech products. But keeping them in touch with you shouldn't have to cost a thing. So if you have an old smartphone (or if you yourself are thinking of upgrading), a hand-me-down phone is a great first phone choice. You can activate it with our Free Nationwide Talk & Text service (so they can be reachable even outside of WiFi), or upgrade all the way to our affordable $39.99 Unlimited LTE option. Change your mind? Change their plan every month at no extra cost.

Change Your Plan

So we hope to have answered some questions about getting your teen ready for school and deciding on a phone plan. For further reference, our full Parent Guide can be found on our Support Website. But if you're looking to try out our service in the meantime, the TextNow app is available for download on Android and iOS for free!