Kids want to express their independence at an early age, more so now than in the past. Even though parent-kid communication has increased tremendously with the affordability of owning a cell phone, as well as the ability to sign up for great cell phone service and family plans, parents feel like they need to keep their children’s cell phone use under control. These feelings are especially prevalent if their child is between the ages of 12 and 18. How should you keep your child’s cell phone use under control?
These days the use of cell phones, text messaging, etc. among children between the ages of pre-teen to 18 has become a great force of communication. Kids want to be able to use their cell phone on their own terms. With the never-ending supply of inappropriate content, child predators use cell phones to lure children into their traps. Being exposed to explicit content and cyber bullies, parents feel the need to monitor and keep under control who their kids talk to, and what they hear and see using their cell phones.
As parents, you must be responsible for setting rules and limits before your kid receives their first cell phone.
-Tell your child that the main purpose of owning a cell phone is for an emergency. Both of you can let each other know if something comes up and your plans need to change.
-Make sure they have your neighbors’ and your entire family’s phone numbers stored in their phone, as well as all of their approved friends’ phone numbers.
-Let your child know you will keep track of his phone calls: whether they are making or receiving them. (Your bill shows who is called and who calls).
-Make your child aware of kid predators and bullies who will use cell phones to intimidate them.
-Tell your child their cell phone is used to let you know what they doing, where they are going and with whom they speak and send messages to with no exceptions. They need to answer their cell every time they see one of the parent’s numbers on the display screen.
-Teach them how to use the phone to dial you quickly in case of a serious emergency. For instance, they can enter a number on the cellular and it will speed dial you or your spouse.
-Discourage them from giving away their cell phone number to friends or strangers without your approval.
-Discourage them from using the phone, especially the text messaging features, during class.
-Set a time where they can receive or make phone calls as well as using text messaging.
-Don’t download music, video or games on their cell phone without your permission.
-Explain to your child about charges that will accrue if the family use goes over the monthly allowed amount of minutes or other extra features without consulting you first.
-Educate them about the danger of talking on their cell phone while driving.
As more services become available, parents and kids need to learn how to control them to avoid using those services for the wrong purposes.
After setting the rules, be firm to follow up that your youth is using his cell phone responsibly. Every time they break one of the rules, consequences will follow accordingly for that week: For example,
-they will not be able to call and receive phone calls from friends but only from you.
-They will lose the privilege to use the phone for free if they continue to make outrageous monthly phone calls.
-They will be responsible to pay any extra charges such as downloading games and music, incoming or outgoing text messages, web access and any other special features made for that month. Reduce their allowance to cover the extra charges.
-If you can, turn off the extra features such as the camera, the text messaging, and the downloading of games and music
-After your child gets their first job, make them contribute to pay the monthly bill for a while so they recognize the consequence of overuse.
-Check the activity logs frequently and talk to them about suspicious phone calls so they are aware that you are monitoring their phone calls from time to time.
-Check their entire store of numbers and ask about the ones who don’t know or don’t approve.
-Remind them constantly about the rules that you and they made and agreed upon.
-Remind them about your expectations and their responsibilities of owning a cell phone.
This may make you seem strict, but it is a great way to ensure your child is smart with their phone.