When parents or guardians hand these cellphones to their children, are they aware that they are giving their children a powerful tool of communication and media? Of course with phones, they can text, call, create images and videos that can be easily distributed through other mobiles and the net. Take note of your kid’s ability to use the phone, is it just like a toy for them? Do they know the responsibility of using a phone? Well, take note if their technological savvy is greater than that of the ability they have to use it, then pay attention to the gap that it’s creating. Maybe it’s not time to give your kids a cellphone just yet.
Mobiles for elementary school children:
Ask yourself as a parent: Do your kids need a phone?
If “yes”- Decide what kind of phone you want to give to them. For younger children, it’s best to choose a phone that enables fast dialing, and where you can enter a few important numbers that they can reach. For older elementary school kids, choose a phone that would allow them to make calls but not text or do IMs, you can have at least some control over calls but not in texts.
What you should discuss: Set some rules before giving them the phone. Make sure that you have programmed the phone so that all the important numbers are there. Also, tell them ahead that if they see an unknown number on a call, do not answer it. If they do answer it and they do not know who the other person is, then tell them to call you immediately. Set time on the minutes spent on talking on the phone. Tell them what the phone is phone and set a time for when they should turn it on or off. You can also check the time of calls to make sure that the calls your children make are within the boundaries.
Mobiles for pre teens and teens:
Ask yourself: Is my child responsible enough to have a mobile phone of their own?
If “yes”- Make sure that you choose the right cellphone plan for calls or texts. Get a phone plan that will suit their needs and that it is within your range and budget. Choose a texting plan since unlimited texting is more cheaper than both calls and texts. Also, make them aware that the cellphone is expensive and so does the cost in calling and texts so that they will be more aware and responsible when using it. Tell them that they can get charged for any downloads, like tones and games and that they could also get charged from using the net. Also, set some firm rules on when they need to use the phone: no phone during class hours, phones turned off when doing homework or studying or when at night, no phones during eating and etc. Also, they should pick up the phone when the call is from you, some teens deem calls from their parents as a nuisance. But as long as you are paying their phone bills, tell them that they should pick up the call or else.
Set rules and and the punishments that will be implemented when they violate those rules. Make sure that you carry out the consequences since giving them a mobile phone is already serious business in their age. Make sure that they use the phones appropriately, that means that they are not allowed to use dirty texts, sexy languages or snap and record embarrassing photos or videos. You can monitor all the texts and calls that they receive, of course, your child may think that it’s a bad idea but it’s really not. Explain and open up to them about cyberbullying and or sexual texts and how it can affect them or others and that it can ruin them or other people.
Cellphones are like a major part of a teenager’s life, so better make sure that when you do give them a phone that they will abide to your rules. Make them understand the consequences when they fail to meet them. Being responsible with how they use their mobile phones can help them hone themselves to become more responsible individuals on what was given them and know how to use it correctly.