Digital Growth Plan for the Family.

 Family Circle is designed to help families with one or more school children to navigate their way through a digital growth plan. Deciding if your child is old enough and/or responsible enough to have a cell phone isn't always an easy decision.  


 Every family is different, and rules and beliefs vary. We believe families should define their own rules around devices and we offer the following device policy framework. We don't require a particular policy and this is intended to provide a set of guidelines for your consideration.    

Tips For a Device Policy

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The ages for the phases illustrated above are flexible and we are not advocating when any particular age is appropriate for using a device.  This decision is up to the parents and family members.  

The Foundation Phase (Grades R to 3)

At this age, access to a device is limited to the home, probably a tablet without a SIM card or a parent's phone.  However, if you are considering giving them a device to carry,  you could also include a SIM card with a zero-balance of data and airtime. The SIM will not give the child any internet access - no browsing, no social media. But with the Family Circle Plan, you will be able to call each other.  

The Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 to 6)

This is an age where children have become familiar with using phones and would likely want their own device.  If you are considering this, we suggest a basic feature phone, or a low cost smartphone, with a SIM card with a zero-balance of data and airtime. The SIM will not give the child any internet access - no browsing, no social media. But with the Family Circle Plan, you will be able to call each other. 

The Senior Phase (Grades 7 to 9)

At some point your child is going to need internet access for a variety of reasons, including accessing the school's online learning platform. This is the time to consider a smartphone which will give him internet access over WiFi, as well as mobile data.  With the Family Circle Plan, you have the ability to limit the amount of data you buy every month and rely on our zero-rated service to the school's portal (if the school supports it).  When he runs out of airtime or data, you will still be able to call each other. 

The FET Phase (Grades 10 to 12)

Your  child is likely using a smart phone with full internet functionality.  With the Family Circle Plan, you have the ability to limit the amount of data you buy every month and rely on our zero-rated service to the school's portal (if the school supports it).  Our plan will allow you to offer data rewards as an incentive for studying on the school portal. And when she runs out of airtime, you will still be able to call each other. 

Tween/Teen Cellphone Contract

Deciding what age is appropriate may be hard. It's even harder to teach your child some basic rules of cell phone ownership, as well as responsibilities that come with having a cell phone. A cell phone contract between you and your child is an excellent way to teach them the responsibilities that come with it, and the consequences for not seeing those responsibilities through.  Here is a sample contract developed by Trend.org.za.