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Do you really know what your child is getting up to on their smartphone?

The new research revealed the top 10 apps which children in the UK said they couldn’t live without.

1. Facebook/Facebook messenger (53%)

2. YouTube (45%)

3. Whatsapp (39%)

4. Snapchat (24%)

5. Instagram (17%)

6. Twitter (15%)

7. Spotify (13%)

8. Candy Crush (12%)

9. Netflix (8%)

10. Pokemon Go (8%)

Most people use their phones for social media, but the new research shows this is especially true for kids, as 1 in 3 UK children stated Facebook messenger was the app they predominantly use to send and receive messages. Although it can be a great way for them to keep in touch with friends, parents may often feel concerned regarding giving smartphones to their children.

With this in mind, e2save created ten tips to help set parents minds at rest when it comes to kids and smartphones:

1. Ask yourself: are they old enough to use the service?

2. Consider a basic features phone first

3. Talk to them about the risks of social media

4. Let them know they should only interact with their friends

5. Keep an eye on app store purchases

6. Set data usage limits

7. Use anti-virus software

8. Consider mobile ad blocking

9. Use built-in parental controls

10. Use parental control apps

A common predicament facing many parents across the UK is when they should purchase a smartphone for their child. It's a question no generation has had to deal with before, so you won't find the answer in parenting books.  First, remember smartphones aren't toys, they're powerful, multi-use gadgets that give the owner a certain amount of independence and freedom. In many ways, it's like giving them a TV, a games console, a private phone line and their own computer all at once.

e2save’s research uncovered that 67% of children received their first smartphone before they were 13 years old. Surprisingly, a number of parents admitted they had given their children their first smartphone as young as 3 and 4 years of age.

If all you want is a way to stay in contact, e2save recommends buying your child a simple features phone. Basic models like the Nokia 108 are cheap, work great for calling and texting, and can serve as a 'training wheels' phone until you're confident they can handle a smartphone.

It’s essential to make sure children understand that the information they put online can be seen by other people. Parents may want to go through privacy settings together with their child and show them how much information anyone can see.

Facebook has its own tips for parents which can be found online but don't forget, it's not just about Facebook and Twitter, as newer apps like Whatsapp, Snapchat and Kik are growing increasingly popular.

Parental control apps can help you regulate what your child can see and do on their smartphone. Most are pretty easy to use, just install, select the settings you want and the app does the rest.

Andy Cartledge, Mobile Expert at e2save, said: “Smartphones are an important part of our daily life. Each device has an array of different uses and it’s interesting to see what activities and apps are appealing to the younger generation.

“It’s really important for parents and guardians to have a good understanding of the types of apps and features their child's phone contains. From preventing apps from using mobile data to installing parental controls and even checking terms and conditions on social media channels, there are a variety of precautions which can be taken to ensure smartphones are suitable for children.”

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