So, you've decided to get your kids a mobile device. I don't want to use the term phone. A cell phone and only a cell phone would be an easy thing to control. Phones have the function to call and text. Mobile Devices or Smart Phones such as the iphone are not just phones they are powerful pocket sized computers that can do so much more than making and receiving calls and texts.
Before you hand over that mobile device, there are a few things you can - should - do to increase the odds that you and your child will have a safe and fun experience:
Set the phone up for safety. Set a password for the device - This is a must! This helps keep your kid's personal information safe. My kids lose things all the time just because its expensive doesn't mean they are not going to lose it. Make sure you keep track of the password. Make sure to also se the automatically lock after a few minutes.
iPhone = Go to Settings / General and scroll down to "Passcode".
Android = Go to Settings --> Security
Add Important Contacts. Add your family members to the contact list. Show your child how to contact and when to contact the family members. I would also add your child's' school and any other important contacts that are regularly communicated with.
School Rules! LEARN THEM!! Visit your kid's school and pull up any school's mobile policy. Incorporate the school guidelines into your own.
Family Meeting. Discuss the agreement for the new smartphone or device: your FAMILY'S TERMS OF AGREEMENT! The best time to have the child comprehend this is while the device is still under your control.... in the box.
Post the rules in plain sight and consider drafting an agreement. Once you've set the ground rules and covered them with the family, make sure rules are crystal clear to avoid later arguments by creating and signing an agreement. Post a hard copy of the phone rules in a noticeable place in their room or common family area.
Safe Downloads. While downloading the first apps to the mobile device, you should ask them to always ask you for approval before downloading any apps. While viewing the app request ensure that the app is made by a reputable developer. Avoid apps with low star reviews. Teach them to only download apps from trusted sources, like the official Apple Store and Google Play
App Download Restrictions. Understand how to limit downloading applications and installing. iOS has the option for Family Accounts. By adding the family account to iOS your child will not be authorized to download the app. They will however request (if allowed in the appstore) permission for the app. Your device will then be prompted and you can approve or disapprove the app installation. Apple how to located here https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201089