Your Child’s First Cell Phone: Rules and Responsibility
child’s first cell phoneSo, you doubt that your child…
… would ever be texting all night long, sacrificing much needed sleep?
… could be harassed by someone with ugly threats via text message?
… would send a scantily clad photo of themselves to anyone?
… could fall behind in school due to their texting habits?
… would text while driving?
Parents, you know from your own experience that it’s not easy to be responsible with a cell phone. Like it or not, though, the fact is: cell phones are a reality of today. They keep us connected, including to our children. That comes in handy, especially in an emergency situation. But there are plenty of dangers lurking to trip them up.
As a parent, you have the responsibility to teach your child how to manage a cell phone and supervise the use of it. So, before you get them their first phone, clearly communicate what you expect of them.
Contemplate discussing rules like…
- Texting Can Wait – You don’t need to answer every text the moment it comes in. Neither do you need to look at it right away. There are more important things you’re doing at times – like homework, bedtime, or … DRIVING! The temptation can be strong, but you should never let your grades or sleep suffer because of a lack of self-control. Charge up the phone in the living room at night and refuse to get distracted while behind the wheel of a car. It can easily get you or someone else killed!
- Never Give Out Information to Just Anyone – Posting your phone number on Facebook, or giving it to anyone other than your closest friends, leaves you vulnerable to stalkers. The same goes for revealing your location via text or location app. If you receive a phone call from a number you don’t know or an unsolicited text, block them immediately and let your parents know about it.
- Never Text Anything You Don’t Want to Become Public – Anything can, and often will, be forwarded to others, no matter if you wanted them to have the information or not. That could be everyone in your school, including the teachers and principal, and even your parents.
- Don’t Send Or Receive Sexy Photos – Not only can it become a huge embarrassment, but it’s actually illegal to distribute or possess sexual pictures of people who are underage. So, don’t let yourself be lured into sending one of yourself, but rather let your parents know if someone asks you for a sexy photo. And if you receive one, delete it at once!
- Always Ask For Permission – Show respect to others. Ask people if it’s alright before taking or sending a photo or video of them and before forwarding anything they sent you. And never download an app without getting your parents’ permission first.
- Deal With Conflict Face-to-Face – If you’re having a problem with a friend, and they end up sending you an ugly text message, don’t react in kind. Wait until you can talk to them in person to resolve the matter. It also gives you time to calm down and approach the problem with a clear head.
- Have A Life – Believe it or not, texting can become addictive. It makes us feel good when we interact with others, including via a cell phone. The problem is, if you’re living too much in your cell phone world, you might neglect other important things – like your family! Block out time each day to turn off your phone and just focus on interacting with someone face-to-face.
Without a doubt, implementing well thought-out rules can dramatically lower the risk of problems your child might experience with owning their first cell phone. It’s definitely worth the consideration.