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If you've just bought your child their first cellphone, this series will tell you everything you both need to know about responsible cellphone and mobile data usage. First up, what is mobile data and how can you ensure your child doesn't waste theirs?

What is mobile data?

Mobile data is one way you can connect to the internet even when you're not in a wifi zone. It uses the data plan or data package that you have through your cellular provider, i.e. Vodacom to give you access to a world of information. Cellular providers offer data through various technologies, including 3G and 4G. This data is measured in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB) – there are 1,000MB in 1GB. Everything you do on the internet uses some amount of data.

How to use data responsibly

  • If you want to stream music, audiobooks and series or movies, make sure you have enough mobile data to do so or that you're in a wifi zone. To get an idea of how much data common activities such as watching a movie or listening to music use, take a look at this infographic called 'How much data do you need?'.
  • An alternative is to download your content before you leave home. (This is a must when you're taking the kids on a long road trip!)
  • Switch off your mobile data when you don't need access to the internet, chat services or social media.
  • You can also switch off mobile data for specific apps or reduce your data usage. For example, you can set it so that you can still listen to the music you downloaded previously but can't download any new songs. Or download Google Maps to use them offline – you won't be able to get updated traffic reports this way, but you'll still be able to navigate the area.
  • Disable automatic app updates by setting your phone to run updates over wifi only. You can select 'auto-update apps under wifi only' in your settings.

For more tips on how to save data, take a look at our #Datawyze page. And keep an eye out for the rest of the articles in our 'My first cellphone' series! In January, we'll be looking at your child and social media.

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