Knowing that if your teenager has a cell phone, you will always be accessible is a powerful draw for buying one according to an article, "Cellphones, Texting and Cell Phone Distractions " by Russell A. Sabella, Ph.D., published on Education.com. They also allow your teen to take photos, maintain calendars and surf the Internet. With any phone comes responsibility and it is appropriate to have your teen agree to a few cell phone rules before making her first call.
According to the article "14 Cell Phone Rules to Give Your Teen," posted on Oregonwomensreport.com, your teen should have to clear all phone contacts with you. This means you have access and control to any password needed to unlock the phone to view the contact list. Each contact should include a first and last name. In addition, you can have her organize the contacts into folders, divided into school, family, friends, soccer team etc. As you scroll through, be sure to ask her about any names you do not recognize. If you discover contacts you do not think are appropriate, block the number from calling in if the phone has that capability. In addition, tell your teen that contact with that person without your permission will lose her phone privileges for a week.
Out-of-control texting can wreak havoc on a teenager's life. Set a predetermined time when texting is allowed, suggests OregonWomensReport.com, for example, after chores and homework are done. Include a rule that you will check text messages without question any time you ask and if she does not immediately hand the phone to you when requested, she loses the phone for a week. While this may seem harsh, it will help keep your teenager safe
The First Cell Phone: Rules for Responsibility
Dr. Laura Markham writes in "The First Cell Phone: Rules for Responsibility" on AhaParenting.com, that the phones charging system should be placed in the living room and not in your teen's bedroom at night. This discourages late-night talks and texting when she should be sleeping. This also gives you time to check text messages as well as incoming and outgoing phone calls as needed.
Dr. Mrkham goes on to discuss safety rules that should accompany the phone. Instruct your teen to never place her cell phone number on Facebook or any other social media. Doing so, opens the possibility of stalking. In addition, she should not activate the program that names her location from her phone on Facebook. This also invites stalking which could turn dangerous by telling everyone exactly where she is at the time she sent her status to the page.
Appropriate Cell Phone Behavior Expected
Make sure your teenager knows that you will not allow her to use the phone to bully, send or receive inappropriate photos or text messages. Remind her that once the information has been sent out there, it can never be taken back. Also let her know that if she forwards malicious gossip text messages about someone else, you will remove her phone for a week. Using a phone to bully or upset others is not appropriate behavior and she must agree not to participate if she wants to keep the phone.
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