With the Holidays in full swing, presents are being given left and right. There is a good chance that one of those presents will be your child’s first cell phone. Preteen and Teens seem to go every where and the convenience of being able to get a hold of them at any time is often why parents give into the cell phone battle. My son has had a phone for several years, and with his crazy schedule, I need to be able to get in touch with him. If you have decided it’s time for your kiddo to get a phone, you will definitely want to take the time teaching your kids cell phone responsibility.
I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
Laying Down the Law
It’s incredibly helpful to sit down with your child and discuss the rules of cell phone use. They need to be clear cut rules about when the phone can be used, who can use it and what it is used for. Many parents have a time when cell phones must be turned off at night, and not bringing it to the table. Creating a contract between you and your child and both signing it can show that it’s a serious situation.
Talk to your child about being appropriate with their cell phone. Texting is often the way kids, teens and tweens communicate, so talking about how texts can be misinterpreted (such as the tone of a text…how many times has this happened to you?) and limiting their texts is really important. Since cell phones also have cameras, talk about what’s okay to photograph and send to other people. It’s a sensitive subject, but it has to be addressed. My oldest has told me horror stories of embarrassing pictures and sharing them with people. These kids have had horrible times recovering from these situations.
You child also needs to know that if someone is harassing them, bullying them or bothering them in any way via their cell phone, that they need to tell you right away. Let them know that they are to never respond to these messages or calls and to tell you immediately. Programming phone numbers with names into their phones will help with this, let your child know to never answer the phone if it doesn’t come up with a name of someone programmed in the phone. Let them also know that it goes both ways, their phones should never be used to harass or bully.
You may decide to give your child a data package (or it may come with one). This will be the hardest of the rules to follow. Understanding that data usage has limitations is one of the biggest battles I’ve had with my oldest. It took him a bit to realize when to use WiFi and when he could use the data (to find an address or phone number etc.) and that sitting on Facebook all day was going to seriously impact the amount of data available. Families with a shared data plan will find their data whisked away by a chatty teenager in no time if they don’t keep track. There is an easy way to keep track of your data plan, and for free by using the My Data Manager app (on iOS or Google Play).
My Data Manager helps you take control of your data usage so you can save money on your monthly bill. You won’t have those unexpected overage charges when using My Data Manager. My Data Manager monitors your data usage over roaming, WiFi and mobile. It allows you to set up a shared or family plan and track usage for each member on your plan so you know exactly who the culprit is! You can track individual data consumption on multiple devices and set up custom usage alarms to let you know when you exactly when to cut your kid off! Using My Data Manager can help you maximize how you use your data and get everything you can out of your plan. My Data Manager is also perfect for just tracking your data usage and finding out what apps are using the most of your data!
Check it out here!
My Data Manager is easy to install and super easy to use. I have Android devices, so I downloaded the app from the Google Play store. I love being able to quickly show my kids how much data they are actually using! It’s even helped my husband understand that “Unlimited Data” really isn’t unlimited. I know that being able to see the whole family at once is going to help me keep my bill down. I have 4 cell phone users on my plan and my service provider doesn’t show everything in one spot, My Data Manager does just that. I love having the custom alarms as well. Being able to warn my family about their usage so they are more careful, has been so handy!
Although it might be inconvenient for you, follow through with the consequences of not following the rules. Take the phone away and stick with it. No matter how hard it is arrange pick up from school or figure out what time the study group ends…make sure they know that you are serious and they should be too.
Deciding to let your child have a cell phone is a major step, but with communication between you and your child and establishing clear cut rules, there is no reason it can’t be a successful adventure!