There can be great benefits to allowing your teen to use a cell phone. However, if you’re a parent who has heard the horror stories about inappropriate cell phone use, you might be a bit hesitant. There are ways in which parents can set standards for cell phone usage and still allow their teens the freedom and convenience to use them. If you are considering the idea of getting a cell phone for your teen, think about putting guidelines in place that will teach them to be responsible.
Set a Usage Limit
Many cell phone providers today have features which allow for parents to set a usage limit on the phone. This simply means that your teen is not allowed to go over the limit of minutes. Since overage charges are the most shocking to parents of teens, this is a great feature to have. If your cell phone provider does not offer these options, you can talk with your teen about time limits and set consequences for when they go over.
When and Where to Use the Phone
Schools have rules in place either for or against cell phone usage during the day. Be sure that your teen complies with these rules. Parents should show teens that there is a time and place for everything. Consider creating times that the cell phone can be used, such as:
- In case of an emergency
- Between the hours of 3 PM – 11 PM (after school hours)
- Not to use during school
- Not to use at the dinner table or family time
Most cell phones come with photo and video capabilities. It is important that you talk to your teen about the use of their camera and the types of pictures they can and cannot take. For instance:
- Your teen should only take pictures/videos of those who give permission.
- Teens should not take pictures of private areas, in the nude, or in any sexual/revealing way.
- Pictures should not be posted to social media without parent’s permission.
Surfing the Web
Last but not least are Internet-capable phones. If your teen is able to go onto the Internet, you should talk to them about websites they should avoid. If your phone provider will allow you, set up parental blocks so that your teen does not wander onto sites they should not be on.
Using these guidelines for your teen will teach them to be responsible cell phone owners. If you’re having a hard time applying that much trust just yet, there are tons of apps that can help you in keeping tabs on your teen’s cell phone usage.