Parenting is hard nowadays. Kids as young as four beg their parents for a cell phone. By the time middle school hits, they’re devastated that most of their friends already have one and they don’t. If the time has come and you’re giving into the kid cell phone epidemic, prepare to set some rules to keep your child safe.
Rule #1: Do not send any text or images you wouldn’t want your parents to see.
Tell your child that a good way to stay safe is to not send or forward any texts or images that they wouldn’t want you to see. This will help them understand appropriate cell phone use.
Rule #2: Abide by the “No Cell Phone Time.”
Using a cell phone can get out of control quickly. Set up times during the day when no one can use their phone. This will be family time to discuss the day’s activities. For example, during dinner we do a cell phone stack and you can’t have your phone back till the table is cleaned off.
Rule #3: Turn off the cell phone while driving.
Aha! Parenting recommends implementing a rule about turning your cell phone off while driving. When the phone is off, your child won’t feel compelled to check a text message, or worse, respond to one.
Rule #4: Review safety tips regularly.
Kids need to be reminded to never give away personal information. About once a month, discuss how important it is not to engage with people you don’t know online. Tell them never to meet anyone they don’t know, and never give out their phone number or address.
Rule #5: Keep the cover on it at all times.
Kids (and some adults) want to remove the protective covers from their phone. Unfortunately, cell phones are expensive, and one drop could mean costly repair bills. This rule can end up saving you a lot of money.
Rule #6: Do not purchase any apps.
Do not allow your kid to purchase apps because you could end up with an insanely high bill. This rule can be easily enforced. Delete payment information from the account your kid’s cell phone is linked to, or turn off the ability to purchase apps in the settings.
Rule #7: Set up “Find my iPhone” or Lookout.com
SafeKids.com recommends setting up a locator on your child’s phone, and making it a rule to always make sure the phone isn’t going to die. These applications can help you locate the phone if it’s lost, and if it’s not able to be located, the phone’s data can be erased.
Rule #8: A cell phone is a privilege, not a right.
Remind your kids that the use of a cell phone is a privilege and not a right. It will help him or her appreciate having one. When you have to take it away because your child has done something wrong, it will make the process much easier, too.
Rule #9: Don’t wear a cell phone.
There are concerns about cell phones and cancer. While there isn’t a direct correlation, there may be a heightened risk. To be safer, establish a rule about not allowing your child to keep a cell phone in his pocket or keep it by his head while sleeping at night.
Rule #10: Check usage daily.
If your kid is old enough to have a cell phone, he or she is old enough to check usage (text, minutes and data). Teach your child how to do it, and remind frequently. This way, you can help your child be responsible in limiting usage time. It will also hopefully save you from seeing a huge bill due to over texting, talking and using data.
Choose the rules that you feel are most important for your child. Consider creating a poster together and posting it in a visible location in your home. This will help keep your kid safe and hopefully save you money.
Ali Lawrence is a tea-sipping writer who focuses on healthy and sustainable living via her family blog Homey Improvements. She is the home editor for Kokoa Magazine and is a princess for hire for kid’s parties.