The purchases of cellular phones for preteens and even younger children by parents are rising significantly these past years. Children want to have a cellular phone for their birthday, for Christmas, or just because their friends have one. If you as a parent decide to purchase a cell phone, how should you know if your child is ready for one and how responsible will your child be after owning a cellular phone?
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Will they use it for functional reasons or social?
2. Will they overrun minutes and texts?
3. Do they know how to be wise about usage, such as not texting during class?
These are the types of questions you must ask yourself to determine if your child is ready for a cell phone.
As a parent, some of the pros and cons of having a cellular phone need to be considered before buying one. Let’s see some of the pros of buying a cellular phone for your child.
-Keeping in touch is probably one of the main reasons for buying a cellular phone for your child: You want to be informed at all times about what’s going on with your child when he or she is away from home especially when your child is a teenager. You want to know if your child is where he is supposed to be doing the things he is supposed to do.
-In case of an emergency your child can contact you right away and tell you of her or his situation. You can help your child deal with an emergency or seek help for your child.
-Teenagers want their freedom and want to be able to be trusted. Having a cellular phone can actually allow them to be free and be at different places by just keeping in touch with you throughout the day with their cellular phone. This is probably also a safe way to check on your child as needed.
-If you are running late picking up your child from school, sports practice, school activities or from a friend’s house because of road traffic or work delay, you can let your child know about the situation and this makes the wait a little easier. Letting your child know when you are late means a lot. It helps your child to know that you haven’t forgotten him or her and gives an idea of when you are going to be there to pick him or her up.
-Your child can also let you know if she or he is running late from a sports or school activity. You don’t want to wait outside in the school parking lot and wonder if you have the meeting time right or not.
Some cellular phones have cool features such as being able to listen to music and taking pictures. A cell phone can be used as a personal flash light and you can do text messaging. Also, some of them now come with GPS (global positioning system) if you have signed up for that kind of package with your cellular phone carrier. With GPS included in your phone, it can tell you where you are or where you want to go and information about nearby businesses. More importantly, if your cellular phone includes a GPS, you can use it to trace your child in an emergency situation or just monitor your child’s whereabouts.
Unfortunately, you also need to consider the cons when buying a cellular phone for your child.
-your child can be exposed to various unpleasant situations or even danger. As parents, you need to constantly check the calling log to see who they are calling and who is calling them. Talk to your child about any unfamiliar phone numbers. Talk to your child about strangers calling them on their cellular phone without your permission. Child predators are looking to lure children into their traps. Cell phones are one means of doing this.
-Your child can give you a heart attack at the end of the month if you don’t pay too much attention of your bill. Having a cellular phone is fun and cool for any child, so monitor their usage.
-Some phones include screens where your child can view or even send pictures. Check the pictures that your child receives or sends: that they are appropriate.
-The text messages can be a real distraction as well. In the classroom, your child can receive or send text messages instead of following the teaching. The inappropriate usage of language while writing a text to a friend has to be monitored.
After considering the pros and cons, talk to your child about them. If you decide to buy your child a cellular phone, you need to let your child know of the rules and guidance that she or he must follow. By letting your child know about those rules and guidance, hopefully your child will adhere to them closely.
You can also consider buying a prepaid cell phone. With a prepaid phone, you never have to worry about any unpleasant bills at the end of the month. You can also choose to block some of the features such as games, internet access and text messaging if your child doesn’t follow your rules.
How to know if your child is ready for a cellular phone? As a parent, educate yourself and weigh the pros and cons then make the decision according to your situation.