Establishing and reinforcing cell phone rules for tweens and teens can be really tricky because their generation uses cell phones differently to ours. After all, most of us parents did not even grow up owning a cell phone so knowing what apps, cell phone tricks, tweaks, acronyms etc they and their friends are using can absolutely be challenging for us to decipher and then stay abreast of.
Maybe you’re reading this post because your tween is asking for a new phone, their first one, or possibly you are lost for ideas on how to manage your teen’s cell phone usage without having to constantly nag them and remind them of their boundaries.
If either of these describe a situation that you’re currently struggling with, KEEP READING!
First things first, we need to embrace technology and accept as parents that we’re probably going to be behind the eight ball when it comes to this. Technology is changing rapidly and so is the way it impacts our lives. Don’t stress yourself silly as it really can be hard o keep up with the latest devices (and their tricky features), social networking sites, and apps…. So many apps!!!
And plus, there’s the ever-present pressure of your tween and teen telling you that “everyone has a cell phone” while whining about needing one of their own. And if it’s not begging for more data it’s them rolling their eyes when they caught overusing it and not paying attention to their limits. Although you may feel thigh deep in battle, maintaining your position when it comes to phone use will pay off in the long run.
Now in case, you’ve made the decision to allow your tween or teen to have their own cell phone, and whether they’re in middle school or high school, here are some helpful guidelines and tips to keep in mind.
Remember That Tweens and Teens Are Still Very Vulnerable Even If They Act Tough, Calm, or Cool
When you give your tween or a teen a cell phone, it’s the beginning of their connected 24/7 life, but just stop to remember the device is now in the hands of a child who’s brain isn’t yet done forming yet.
Their cognitive and reasoning skills are just developing with a very long way still to go. That’s why young people are easily swayed to make rash decisions without thought for consequences. And at this time they are in the stage where they are confused about their physical, emotional, and environmental changes. Putting all the pieces together, it just makes sense to have some negotiated boundaries when it comes to appropriate and reasonable cell phone use, doesn’t it?
I’d strongly recommend the device you are giving them the privilege of using should at least come with the non-negotiable understanding that it’s a tool for you as a parent to stay connected to your teen…. without overdoing it, of course. Their access to a cell phone will open up many avenues to communicate with them such as SMS messages, calls, snapchats, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and lots of other communication platforms.
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Effectively Communicate And Negotiate Your Terms And Conditions
Your tween or teen will probably feel totally excited about receiving their new phone and so this makes it the perfect time for you negotiate some terms and conditions while they are readily agreeable and more likely to listen to you.
Here are some useful ideas on what cell phone guidelines you could be negotiating with your tween or teen:
- Cell phone hours usage: establish clear rules around the acceptable times of cell phone use and also when they are not to be used – such as no cell phones during meal times, homework time, and sleeping time.
- Check school rules and regulations for cell phones: each school has its own rules regarding cell phone usage on the school grounds. Talk to your teen about this and check their school’s handbook, website, or simply talk to one of their teachers about it.
- Cell phone Apps and Games: make a deal around what apps and social networking sites are acceptable for your tween or teen to download because there are some adults who take advantage of popular social sites and apps to prey on teens. On the other hand, if your kid is a gamer who loves mobile legends, fortnite, and other addictive games, you’ll need to factor this in as part of their cell phone usage hours.
- Clearly explain the consequences of not abiding with the cell phone rules: make sure that there’s a clear understanding from your teen around the hours of usage, school rules, apps, and games. You can also create a list of consequences for unanswered phone calls and text messages if they don’t respond to you.
- Try using a cell phone contract to serve as their constant reminder: once you have established clear cell phone rules, create a simple and concise cell phone contract. This can just be a simple explanation of the rules and the consequences your teen will face for any breaches.
Important Reminder: You also might include what will happen if your teen loses their phone, breaks it, or incurs excess data charges.
Then, you can have your tween or teen review and sign the contract.
Bonus: you can grab your FREE cell phone contract agreement when you click here.
If you can relate to this issue and have some experience you’d like to contribute, or maybe other effective approaches regarding this topic, please don’t hesitate to comment it on the section below and share your thoughts.
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