When your child gets a cell phone, a new world of possibilities opens and also a brand new territory for rules. Having a set of ground rules helps keep your child safe and it also gives you piece of mind. Cell phones can help but also hinder your child’s environment so here are 10 rules to remember:
1. Come Up With A Cell Phone Contract
Pinterest has a list of great cell phone contracts to have between you and your children. Having a piece of paper that states exactly how and when to use their cell phone will make sure there is no overuse or missed phone calls. Establish the cell phone contract as soon as they have their first cell phone. Its easier to do it now than later.
2. Have an 8PM – 8AM Rule
Having this rule helps monitor your child’s cell phone use after dark. When your kids are allowed to take their phone with them to bed, they are most likely going to break a rule put in place in your cell phone contract. It also helps their sleep schedule. The age of “bingeing” is a real thing considering popular streaming services like Netflix and Hulu offering multiple seasons of show at once. Keeping their cell phones at night encourages them to find other sources of entertainment.
3. No Phones During Family Events AND Dinner
This rule is so important because being present with your children is your best defense when it comes to protecting them. Being present allows you to get to know your kids and ask them about their day. It also keeps their social skills intact. It also teaches them manners and to be respectful of others. Paying attention to someone when they speak and to not be texting during a conversation is a key to maturity. It also helps them get to know their immediate and extended family members.
4. All Contacts Should Be Real People
Make sure you are checking the Contacts app on your child’s phone and can recognize each person who is saved. If you find a person’s number you don’t recognize, be sure to ask your child who that person is and their relationship with them. All their contacts should be someone they have met in real life and someone who you are familiar with. Having a number saved that you don’t recognize could be someone they met offline through an app and could be dangerous.
5. Check the Screen Time App
On newer iPhones, there is a screen time tracker built right into the device in your Settings sections. There is a tab called “Screen Time” which makes it effortless to track your child’s screen time. There you can set time limits for their social media apps, you can also block inappropriate content in the Content & Privacy Restrictions. It will also track what they are using the most on their phone: Social Networking, Entertainment, and Reading & References. It will also show you which app, how much time, and how many pickups.
6. The Password Will Always Be On AND Known
Having a passcode keeps your child’s phone protected as well as all their information on the phone. Set up the passcode together and if using Face ID, add your face as an Alternate Appearance. This will allow you full access to their phone. Be sure to use a Passcode backup as well if the Face ID doesn’t register. Also be sure that “Require Attention for Face ID” is enabled; it will add another layer of security.
7. Keep Your Head Up
When your child’s head is looking down at their phone, they are missing out on the things around them. Their social skills begin to diminish and communicating with their mouths is not an option. Calling people on the phone doesn’t exist for the younger generations as much as it used to so encourage them to put the phone down and keep their heads up.
8. Downloaded Apps Have To Be Approved
With the plethora of apps that can be downloaded on a phone, be sure to monitor the apps. There are also apps that can even look harmless but can actually be harmful. Apps such as Keepsafe, Best Secret Folder, and Private Photo Vault are all free, are password protected, and hide messages, videos, and pictures.
9. Ask Permission To Take Someone’s Photo Or Record Them
Recording or taking a photo of someone without their permission could result in legal action depending on the contents of the video or photo. It is important to teach your kids the severity of sending and even receiving photos that could get them in trouble. Its also teaching them to respect others by asking permission before hitting the record button.
10. A Cell Phone Is For Good And Not Bad
When giving your child a cell phone, it is necessary to teach them that a cell phone is for their protection and safety. A cell phone’s main objective is to be used to communicate with you and keep them safe and a bonus to talk to their friends and use the social media apps. Instill that a cell phone is a privilege and can be taken away if the rules are broken.
Following these 10 rules for you, your child and their cell phone can make a world of difference when it comes to safety and being a productive member of society. Cell phones are to be used for good and teaching your child the positives and negatives of it are vital.