Keep your Kids Happy and Safe with These Rules
Kids are just as attached to their phones as any adult but, as a parent, you must give them cell phone rules to follow. A cell phone is more than a practical communication tool, it can keep kids safe. It means that a child can dial 911 and get immediate help in case of a serious emergency. Still, you are justified to worry about cell phone use and your kids. You don’t want your children to talk to someone who could harm them. You also don’t want them to pick up bad habits like staying up late talking with friends. Here are some suggested rules you may want to share with your child.
1. You Must Follow the Cell Phone Rules
Children must know what is allowed or not allowed up front. For example, if there is a rule about not using the phone after bedtime, make it easy to follow. Have your child hand her phone to you at night. Whatever rules you have, make sure they are clear and that you allow exceptions in the event of an emergency.
2. Keep Your Phone Charged
Help your child understand that he must charge his cell phone. The cell phone is a lifeline and it is of no use if it isn’t charged on a regular basis. Teens must know that shutting their cell phones off so that you can’t reach them is an, “I’m taking your phone away,” infraction.
3. Call or Text Immediately if You Don’t Feel Safe
The cell phone is a great communication tool but the rule about “not talking to strangers” applies in the cell phone world, just as it does in the real world. Have your child create a “safety” word that can be said or texted to you in an emergency without tipping anyone else off.
4. Be Polite
Phone etiquette includes not using the phone during school hours or in a movie theater. Tell your child when it is appropriate to call or text.
5. Be Responsible
Cell phones can be expensive. Help your child understand that he is responsible for the phone and must take care not to lose it. Also, help your child understand your cell phone plan so that you are not paying for extra minutes or data. If your child wants extras, like games, negotiate how she can pay for them.
6. Don’t be a Bully
Tell your child that cyber-bullying is not acceptable and that the phone will be taken away immediately if your child is using it to hurt someone.
7. Watch How You Use Your Camera
This is one of the most important cell phone rules for teens. Tell them that sharing inappropriate photos may haunt them a long time. Sexting is not acceptable for any reason and can even get a child in trouble with the law.
8. Watch What You Post on Social Media
Kids love social media but teach your child what is appropriate to share or not share. Also, the same rules you have about browsing the Internet on their computer apply to browsing the Internet on their cell phone.
9. Do Not Text and Drive
Explain to your teen that driving and texting is no different than driving drunk. There are many resources you can share about why texting and driving is so dangerous. Be yourself a good example for your teen.
10. Watch Those Downloads
Tell your child to ask for permission before downloading anything on their cell phone.