The time in childhood when electronic use, especially the use of cellphones, takes off is in your child's teen years, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Eighty-four percent of teens have cellphones, and it is your responsibility as a parent to enforce rules about their proper use. Rules on your teen's cellphone use will prevent excessive use and unnecessary power struggles.
Your teen should not feel free to use his cellphone at any time. You won't want your child to make or receive calls at certain times, including meal times and after bedtime. If your teen drives, strictly enforce not using a cellphone while driving. Dr. Mark D. Fox, associate dean for Community Health and Research Development at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine concurs. “Any texting while driving has an adverse impact on driving performance among teenage drivers under simulated conditions,” he said. Breaking the rules should result in losing the phone for a pre-specified time. According to a study published in the "Journal of Pediatric Psychology," late-night teen cellphone use is linked to mental health problems, so require your teen to charge his phone somewhere such as the kitchen or living room so he isn't up talking late at night.
While some cellphone plans have unlimited minutes, most companies slap restrictions on how many minutes can be used to make calls to customers out of the cell network. The same rule applies to using minutes during peak hours compared to nights and weekends. Shared family plans are also common and you should explain the concept of sharing minutes with other family members. Alternatively, buy a pre-paid phone and only put a certain amount of time on it each month. When the minutes are gone, your teen is out until the next month.
Cellphones aren't restricted to only being used to call people. Phones text, take pictures, have games and provide access to the Internet. Be clear about what is and is not acceptable. Examine your plan closely to know whether extra charges are occurring for downloading data or accessing certain features.
You can view your teen's call log through your mobile provider's website or the monthly bill, and you can also view how many text or media messages are sent. You might also want to enforce a rule that permits you to look through the phone at any time, but this depends on how trusting the relationship is between you and your teen.
- Oregon Women's Report: 14 Cell Phone Rules to Give your Teen
- Loma Linda University Children's Hospital: When Can I Get a Cell Phone?
- MyHealthNewsDaily: Teens' Late-Night Cellphone Use Linked with Mental Health Problems
- HealthyChildren.org: Cell Phones: What's the Right Age to Start?
- American Academy of Pediatrics:Teen-led Study Highlights Dangers of Texting and Driving
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