Your Teen Wants a Phone? 10 Things You Should Know Before Agreeing – Research has recently shown that close to 25% of younger children six to nine own their own cell phone and close to 60% of teenagers own one. Essentially a computer in your pocket, a cell phone can be a very dangerous tool if your teenager doesn’t know about these dangers.
In order to keep your kids safe and prepared, here are 10 things you should know about before even agreeing to buying one, if Your Teen Wants a Phone?
#1 Safeguard the phones
All mobile carriers in the United States allow you, as the parent, to control your child’s activities. This may include blocking picture messaging and limiting the amount of time a child can place text/calls. It can also restrict web browsing. Depending on the carrier, it can be free or up to $5 if you want to implement smart controls. For example, AT&T has a smart control app which limits web browsing, text messaging and has call restriction options. Consider these options if you want to control your child’s usage.
#2 Just say no
Research has shown the average teenager can receive up to 50 text message per day. While most of these texts will be from close friends, some may come from an aggressive classmate asking for inappropriate material. Teach your child it’s okay to say no or even block this person from texting. Also teach them to password protect their phone and never hand out their information to anyone, even their close friends. With bullying a rampant issue, the last thing your child wants is his or her personal information floating around out there.
#3 Set the rules
While the apps can restrict your child’s access, you don’t want the phone to do nothing. Be sure to set the boundaries and make sure your child abides by it. If your child is guilty of breaking any rules, make sure you have circumstances set forth such as taking the phone away for a few days or restricting it even more than you do. A good child should know their boundaries and shouldn’t risk breaking them.
#4 Set a good example
We all know children learn from their parents. Try your best to keep the phone in your pocket during dinner and try to avoid using at night. Research has shown children who use their phones at night are less likely to get a good night’s rest. Setting a good example should prevent your child from texting during a family dinner or yelling into the phone while shopping at the grocery store.
#5 Keep it simple
While your teenager may pressure you to purchase that cool $800 iPhone, don’t fall for it just yet. There are many great smartphones on the market for less than $50 that can get the job done. The last thing you want to do is purchase an expensive phone and find out they lost it a few days later. Remember, you’re going to be paying the bills, so if your child doesn’t like their choice, maybe consider giving them an older flip phone or no phone at all. This, in turn, will make them respect your cheaper smartphone option a lot more.
#6 Don’t forget the case
We all remember being a teenager before, right? Well, you probably know your child will be a bit careless. With that being said, make sure you protect your child’s phone. This can be done by investing in a decent case so that if the phone were to fall, you wouldn’t have to replace it or having them be made fun of because of the broken phone screen. Even if you purchase the $50 smartphone, you should be able to find a decent case online for less than $10.
#7 Don’t buy into peer pressure
If your child is coming home and whining, “Mom! Everyone has a phone, and I don’t.” They may be telling the truth, but oftentimes, they aren’t. Talk with your child’s friend’s parents and see if they really do own a phone. You may find out that only two of their many friends have a phone and it isn’t as glorious as they make it seem.
#8 Talk about responsibility
A cell phone can be a pretty big responsibility, and if you feel your child isn’t ready, you may have to ask them to prove they can take care of themselves before they take care of a phone. For example, if your child is constantly losing clothes or don’t listen to your rules, it’s probably a safe bet to wait a while. If your child really wants this phone, they will do what it takes to get it.
#9 Do they need it?
If you want to text your child after soccer practice when you’re ready to pick them up, then maybe it is a good idea to consider a phone. However, if there’s really no reason for your teenager to have a phone, then it may best to hold off. Remember, a cell phone will increase your monthly bill and you will have to constantly worry about what your child may get into.
#10 Know the rules
Lastly, know the rules in both your state and in the school. Did you know some states could charge your child if they were to find nude photos on their phone? Do you know what your child’s school’s policy is? You’re going to want to educate yourself as well before committing because the last thing you want to do is find yourself in some sort of legal battle.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie Lynch is a freelance writer who currently resides in Gilbert, Arizona, with her two sons and husband. Her passion and writing has encouraged her to reach out and help people with her knowledge and understanding about various topics. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter @howmuchforit