Here are some phone usage tips for parents with teens/tweens. These tips will help you get a good start to the new school year.
Summer flew by and now it’s back to school time. My kids are excited to be around their friends again. That means my teen is spending even more time on his phone. While he’s growing more independent and move toward adulthood, we are still responsible for his well being and safely. He still seeks our guidance and understands why we have the rules that we have. We are relaxing some of our rules to give him space to make good choices, yet we are his safe place to fall when he makes mistakes.
We believe that having a phone, albeit a smart phone is a privilege, not a right. We know that it’s our son’s most important possession and lifeline to his friends. Our son knows that if he messes up, that he will lose phone privileges for a period of time. He pretty much walks the straight and narrow and gets lots of free time with his phone. Parenting wasn’t always this smooth. We learned a lot with our oldest and made some adjustments to our parenting. We have kept issues with the cell phone to a minimum with the following rules. We recommend these to any families with tweens/teens with mobile phones.
Phone has hours of operation – Set times that the child is allowed to use the phone. This can be a total amount of time or specific times.
Phone charges in parent’s room overnight – Teens need a lot of sleep and most don’t get enough. We ensure that our son gets enough by requiring him to charge his phone in our room overnight. He has to turn his phone in at 10pm. Without the phone he is bored, and he goes to bed and gets good sleep. This is my favorite tip!
Parent has right to access the phone at all times! – If the phone has a passcode, it must be shared with parents. I know some parents or kids would not agree that the parent has the right to check their child’s phone, but they do. It can be a matter of safety!
Know the school/teacher’s phone usage policy – Find out the school’s policy on phone usage and ask your student to abide by it. That means you should not text your kid during the day. I wait until my son is on lunch hour or school is out if I need to contact him.
Phone does not take over as your mode of communication – It’s very easy to use your phone as your main means of communication. I get that kids need to let you know their whereabouts and other information, but keep talking face to face!
No phones during family time! – This means the parents too!! Spend time being present with one another. Quality time together is the best!
Hands free in the car – This is another rule that applies to the parents too! To everyone really!! Require that your child not be touching their phone in the car and set that example for them. I have my daughter respond to texts and calls for me when I am driving.
These tips/rules should be served as a discussion with your kids. Get them involved with setting usage times and ask them what the consequences should be if they mess up. Model good phone behavior, but set up some consequences for yourself in case you mess up. Putting the phone on time out seems to work well around here. We sit down and go over phone usage rules at the beginning of each school year around our house. It’s a good time to remind them that they need to focus on their school year and other commitments.
Some parents might not want to take a phone away from their child because they are paying so much for that phone and service. If my son violates these terms or gets in trouble in general, I would have no problem taking his phone away or even getting his service turn off. We would not have to buy out a contract because we use Walmart Family Mobile, which is a month by month service. Walmart Family Mobile service is $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data. This service plan includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data.
Walmart has the Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans.
Right now you can get the LG Leon LTE on rollback to $79.82. This awesome smartphone features a 4.5″ multi-touch screen, a quad-core processor, and 5 MP camera. The ZTE Zinger is also on rollback for $19.88. Can you believe a smartphone for under $20? Perfect for a kid who is rough on phones! My son has changed phones a few times, which is simple with Walmart Family Mobile. You just have to move the sim card over. You keep your number! Life is easy with Walmart Family Mobile!
I’ve shared my tips for mobile phone usage. Do you have any others to add?