It seems like it’s talked about a lot amongst my friends. Probably because my kids are tweens and teens. There’s lots of discussion about technology – what’s age appropriate, what’s not? How do we keep our kids safe and how do we teach them to be responsible? How do we make sure that they are connecting with people and not just technology? What a different world we live in then when I was growing up. I didn’t get my first cell phone until after I was married! And now kids get them younger and younger every year. So let’s talk about it… but before I go any further, I want you to know that this is NOT meant to bash anyone. There is no judging from me. You have to do what works best for your family and your kids. I just want to get the conversation going and get you thinking more about where you stand. Deal? Looking into studies and articles for this post reminded me why it’s so important to talk about it and to be more intentional with my kids and technology.
According to a survey by US Cellular from late last year, half of their customers with kids said they currently own cell phones – 47%. Almost all parents set guidelines for their kids and monitor them too. That can mean different things to different people. Some err on the side of extreme caution, others aren’t nearly as involved. In our area, the average age for kids to get a cell phone is 12 years old. They often get them for their birthday or when they graduate from elementary school. I have friends who have kids that are much younger with phones for various reasons. But on the whole, most kids I know start junior high with a cell phone.
These are the things that are important to me with my teenager and her cell phone:
(Your list might look different but this is what matters to me)
- Pick up the phone when Dad or I call always.
(the exception would be during school or church, which I shouldn’t be calling during that time anyway)
If you are unable to answer, you need to respond with a text to let me know. Having a phone is a privilege and being able to get ahold of you when I need to, is my right.
- Follow rules wherever you are.
If you’re at school, it is put away. If you are at church, it is used only for scriptures. If you are at the movies, turn it off.
If you are driving, turn it off! If you are walking across the street, make sure it’s put away.
- Use your manners.
One of the results of having so much technology at our finger tips is that everyone is on their phones all the time. There are manners that come along with technology. Put your phone away at a dinner table. If you are having a conversation with someone, answer back and don’t be distracted by your phone.
- Ask permission.
Instead of just downloading whatever you feel like, get permission first. Make sure that your parents are okay with you downloading – this is 2 fold. For one, to make sure that whatever you are adding is safe and clean. The other thing is to make sure that there aren’t costs involved that you are unaware of.
- Central location charging/docking at night
When talking with my friends about this, most have said they have their kids dock phones every night before heading to bed. Some have them check them in an hour before bedtime, others just make sure it’s out of their room before falling asleep. I like the idea of having everything in one spot and not having access until the morning. We need to be more firm on this one.
I’ve seen cell phone contracts all over the internet. I took what was vital to our family and made one for us too. I should’ve had my 13 year old sign one when she got her cell phone for her 12th birthday but better late than never!
You can download both the guidelines for kids technology and cell phone contract. This is for subscribers to 30days and personal use only. Those who are signed up for my newsletter are able to download all of the printables I offer for free. Thanks!
Other important conversations to have regarding technology:
This topic is the bridge for a lot of other things that need to be discussed with your kids. Some of them may be hard or uncomfortable to talk about but are definitely necessary. I’d rather be the one to make sure my kids know where we stand on issues than to find out the hard way. Here are some suggestions:
- Texting while driving & distracted driving in general
What do you do in your home? What works best for you and your family?
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