Cellphones and Internet

Cellphones and Internet

Apr 30

Today’s smart phones can present another issue for parents.  Just like everything else we have talked about they just need to have parameters and safeguards set up.  Keep in mind everything that we have talked about this month is for the protection of our children.  The first question you need to ask yourself as a parent is, does my child really need this?  Is a smart phone something that they need or is a regular cell something that will suffice?

The thing to remember with a smart phone is that, while they are the most popular thing to the youth culture, they cost more per month and they have internet capabilities.  The internet on these phones is much harder to filter.  Last week we discussed internet safety and how to protect your children.  The safety tips we discussed are much harder, if not impossible, to put into place on a phone’s internet.   So again this begs the question, is this a necessary thing for your child to have? Do the risks of a phone like this outweigh the benefits for a teen?

Texting

Texting

Apr 29

One form of communication today that is extremely popular is texting. It is so easy because you can get straight to the point of communication. This may be why it appeals to the younger generations.  They have even gone so far as to shorten words to enable quicker communication. Because it is so popular, this form of communication is definitely something that parents should be aware of and place parameters around.  Until a child is trustworthy with the cell phone there may need to be limited, if any, texting.

Another issue that has popped up in this current trend is called “sexting.”  This can be either sexually explicit conversation or explicit pictures.  With the introduction of camera phones this has become a major problem.  The government is beginning to crack down on explicit pictures sent via text.  Most teens send them as a joke or because they have not thought through the ramifications of their actions.  However, because they are underage, the government is treating this issue as child pornography.  Please have a discussion with your child about this issue before allowing them to send or receive texts.

Cellphones and Responsibility

Cellphones and Responsibility

Apr 28

One of the biggest complaints about cell phones and teens seems to be that they are not staying within their minutes.  This causes the family phone bill to be astronomical.  If you have not decided to have your child pay all or part of their bill, then this may be an issue.  When children are responsible for the money, they to pay more attention.  They at least need to take care of whatever overages that have accrued.  Take their cell phone away until those overages are either paid off out of their allowance or worked off by doing jobs around the house.   Unfortunately most parents would rather pay the debt than fight the battle.  It might be easier to just pay for it, but it teaches nothing.  This is a responsibility issue.  Cell phones are a privilege and responsibility opportunity not a right.   This is an excellent training time for a child who may not be paying attention to those small details.  It is those small details that may help them be successful later with finances and work related responsibilities.

Cellphone Parameters

Cellphone Parameters

Apr 27

As you are setting up family cell phone rules the obvious first step is leading by example. If the rule is “no answering the phone during dinner,” but the parent … their leader …takes a call, it’s an obvious huge inconsistency.  It can even be helpful to have a family charging dock where everyone leaves their cell phones over night.  This can help with the battle of calls and texts late into the night.

Phone rules also need to be established about where and when having your phone is appropriate.  There have been many issues with cell phones in the schools.  Even cheating has gone tech as kids are texting test answers to each other. There is no reason for a child to have their cell phone on during school hours.  It creates a distraction to the classroom environment as well as being against the rules.

As difficult as this sounds, parents can lead by example in the car.  Teenage drivers are not experienced enough to be able to use a cell while driving.  Most states have a hands free law in place.  Set an example when it comes to cell phone appropriateness.

Cellphones

Cellphones

Apr 26

When we talk about the parenting subject of privacy vs. protection this week’s topic is: cell phones.  The push to have cell phones has become younger and younger.  Many households no longer even have a land line which makes families have to address this issue.

The first thing that a parent needs to remember is that a cell phone is not a right, as your children would have you believe, it is a privilege.  Before parents extend this privilege to to a child, there are many things that need to be thought through ahead of time.  What will be your family cell phone parameters?  At what age is reasonable for a child to have a cell phone… not according to their friends and social circles … according to your family’s needs and standards.  Will they pay all or part of their bill?  What will be the parameters for talking/texting on it?  All of these are easier if established beforehand.