Kids Calling 911?

When should young kids be taught how to dial ‘911’ for an emergency?

Dear Ms. Smartphone: The two earthquakes in Southern California got me thinking about Emergency Responders. I have three young children at home under age five. Should I show them how to dial the ‘911’ emergency number on my cell phone? I’m afraid they will make an accidental call. Beatrice, Corte Madera.

Dear Beatrice: This is something to get shaking about! Many parents probably share your concern. You didn’t mention how old your children are, but VeryWell Family, suggests that most kids over three can complete a 911 call. A well circulated story on social media shows a four year old in the UK that saved his Mom’s life by calling 999.

You will find a number of useful ideas in the link from Colorado, underneath the picture. As you get started:

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Adding up ScreenTime: Does Meditation App Count?

A reader wants to exclude her meditation app from the count of how much time she spends online…

Can you subtract yoga/meditation/”me” time?

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I plan to set a good example for my teens and show them how to monitor their screentime. I have begun with an app that reports my total time spent online each Sunday. My issue is that I do guided meditation through a phone app. It’s at least a half-hour daily and that is bulking up my screen time. Do I have to count the time spent with the meditation app? Marnie, Newton

Dear Marnie: First of all, accolades for tracking your screen time and for helping your children do the same thing. Readers will find links to these tracking apps on the DearSmartphone resource page. Apparently, there is no way to exclude an app and even Google navigation, say used during a car commute, gets counted. The good news is that the app records your usage in granular detail, so when you talk about it with your kids, you can show them the average time you spend by category: for example, social media, meditation, shopping, and navigation. And, you can watch their usage as well. Muse onward!

Kid’s Weekly Allowance Cash or Digital?

Should parents give kids a digital allowance? Rock, Paper, Phone!

Dear Ms. Smartphone: My children, ages 5 and 10 each get a weekly allowance for doing chores. The ten year old got a phone this year and asked me to put his amount, $10.00 per week, on a Venmo account. What do you think? Jaycee, Quincy

Dear Jaycee: That’s an interesting question. For readers who don’t know, Venmo is a popular app, one of many, that securely transfers digital payments between people, in lieu of paper money.

Your children will grow up in a world where digital payments will become the standard. But for now, I have two reservations about the digital allowance.

Buyers display less fiscal management and spend more when they use digital payments/ credit cards. Parents need to show their children how to save money, as well as spend it. Second, giving your child money to spend online will encourage him to be online more often. Since your child is only ten, it’s vital to monitor both his time and spending online.