Guest post provided by Stephanie Lynch
One of the milestones for many kids of this generation is getting their own mobile phone. There are those who are able to buy their own phone due to part-time work, but the most common scenario is that parents end up getting their kids a phone. Although this is a rational situation at the outset, this is often the catalyst for parent-teen issues.
While communication and safety are typically the reasons why parents get their kids their own phone, it is undeniable that several problems arise from giving them their own device. In order to help deal with this issue, here are ten things that you, as a parent, should be aware of before you decide to buy them their own mobile phone.
- Type of phone
You will need to choose what type of phone to give your teen — a smartphone or a standard unit. If the primary reason for getting them a device is communication, then any type of mobile phone will do. With smartphones, though, there are apps that make them an attractive choice such as GPS tracking, which will help you keep tabs on your kids’ whereabouts.
- Prepaid phone
If you are on a budget, then you may want to consider getting your kid a prepaid phone. There are numerous prepaid phones on the market today and most of them offer options from regular to full-featured, but you will only pay a flat fee each month. Plus, these phones do not exactly cost tons of money.
- Monthly usage allowance
It is all too common for children to go over monthly usage allowance. When left unresolved, this can lead to onerous bills. Talk with your teen about this before adding a new phone to your current plan. Tell him or her that this will test their maturity and ability to be responsible.
- Family plans
This option is often ideal if you plan to give your teen a cell phone. Make sure that your child knows how to use the phone in a prudent manner, by sending text messages within their limits and by not downloading costly items and things that come with recurring payments.
As a parent of a teenager, you are well aware of how it is sometimes useful to use a combination of blackmail and bribery to persuade your children to perform chores around the house. In this case, you can tell them that they can have a phone in exchange for good behavior.
- Keeping track
There are cell phone service providers that offer services for a fee to help you monitor phone usage, manage access to features, and track the phone’s location. These features may also cause your kid to resort to sneaky behavior, so the best thing to do is to talk with them and make them truly understand responsibility.
Be sure to teach your teenager to use their phone to call for help when they find themselves in situations when they need assistance. When they find themselves stranded in an unfamiliar place, for example, being able to use their phone to find help can be a lifesaver.
- Have them contribute
You can help your teen develop responsibility by having them contribute to the cost of the mobile phone or the data plan. When they understand the costs involved, they are likely to take better care of the phone.
- Set limits
Designate times that the cell phone needs to be turned off, such as during meals, when driving, and during school hours. It is very important that your child fully comprehends the importance of following specific times when they are allowed to use the device. Most importantly, you have to walk the talk and follow rules yourself since you are your child’s chief role model.
- Make them remember their manners
When a teenager possesses a cell phone, the conversation can become somewhat curbed due to limited attention span. Make them recognize the significance of preserving their conduct, especially when they are around the dinner table or when having discussions with you and the family.
These are just some of the many important things that every parent should be familiar with before they give in to their teenager’s appeal to buy them their own cell phone. Giving your kid their first phone can be a fun and exciting experience for you both. It is also an excellent means to teach your child responsibility.
Sit down with your teen and have a thorough conversation about what you both expect from this experience. Ensure that your kid understands your rules and why they are required to comply. Once you kid understands your concerns and agrees to cooperate with the rules you laid down, you can then bond together and shop for your kid’s new phone.