Having a cell phone is a big responsibility, especially a smart one. Here are some general rules you may want to instate to help your children use it responsibly.
- No cell phones after 6 p.m.
A good rule of thumb is to shut off phone usage at least two hours before bedtime. This gives the mind a chance to get ready to shut down for the night and ensures more restful sleep.
- Answer parent’s call on the first call.
Probably your primary purpose in providing a cell phone to your child is so that you can reach them whenever you need to. If your child ignores your calls, it defeats the purpose.
- No inappropriate photos
This one goes without saying, but it doesn’t hurt to explain what is and is not appropriate.
- Download apps with permission
There are a lot of scary apps out there, and the best way to avoid your children using some unsavory ones is to have them get permission for each one they want to use. Double-check the app for yourself before you give the okay because some apps can be misleading.
- No cell phones in class or during family time
Kids can get easily attached to their phones and so absorbed in their screen that they miss out on valuable family memories and lessons in school. Teach your child that there is a time and a place for everything, and that includes cell phones.
- Understand and stay within the plan limits
If your cell phone plan has limited texting, calls, and data, ensure that your child is aware of them and knows not to exceed them and cost you a small fortune on your bill.
- Never use a cell phone while someone is speaking.
It’s surprising how many folks don’t appreciate that this is rude and will stare at their phones while someone is talking to them.
- Use headphones, and don’t disturb others.
No one wants to hear a loud cell phone conversation or music. Have your child use earbuds when they listen to music at an appropriate volume and teach them how to have polite phone conversations.
- Share passwords with parents
Make sure you have passwords to all of your child’s emails and if they have them, social media accounts. Also, periodically check them to ensure they aren’t being changed.
- Remember that the phone belongs to the parents
Kids should know that “their cellphone” is really “your cellphone.” That means that you can take it away at any time and should have full knowledge of what goes on within it. Nothing is private.