5 GOLDEN RULES TO MANAGE YOUR TEENAGER'S CELL PHONE USE
October 29, 2018
Today’s parents have a unique challenge. Most of us grew up in the analogue age, progressing for VHS to satellite TV, and dial-up internet to wireless connectivity naturally. Our children on the other hand, especially the youngsters who are currently in their teens, didn’t have this progression. They are adept at handling technology to the extent where we’re allowing them so much freedom on devices that we may be setting them up for failure.
So, what’s the answer? Surely you cannot keep your child from using technology if they are to function successfully in modern society? The short answer is no, but you can manage their use thereof. Here are a few golden rules to manage your teenager’s cell phone use:
SET USAGE HOURS
We have to remember that our children’s brains are still developing and need exposure to real, tactile experiences. Playing Farmville is not the same thing as tending a vegetable garden by a long shot. Set usage hours and take their phone away and switch it off once they go to bed.
As always, talking to your kid is essential. Build and nurture open lines of communication so your child can come to you if they are experiencing any bullying or harassment online.
ENFORCE SCHOOL RULES
Know what the school rules are regarding cell phone use (can your kid take a phone, do they have to check it in, are they not allowed to bring it on school premises at all, etc.) and then work with the teachers to enforce it from your end.
FOLLOW THROUGH ON CONSEQUENCES
Set consequences for the breaking of cell phone rules and follow through when there is any kind of violation. Don’t buckle.
DRAW UP A CONTRACT
Speaking of which, make sure that you’re ground rules are laid hard and fast from the beginning. Draw up a cell phone contract that stipulates all your rules, and have both parties sign it. That way, there can be no confusion regarding the rules.
Following these guidelines will give you more control over your teenager’s cell phone use. In the end, the goal should not be to limit their autonomy, but to provide guidance that keeps them safe. Keep your eye on the blog in coming weeks and months for more helpful advice on parenting in the modern age.