As you can see, my children are too young for cell phones at this time, something I am so glad about right now. I do realize, though, that they aren't getting any younger and will want to have their own someday. Maybe sooner rather than later. Please do feel free to share tips on how you manage (or plan to manage) cell phone usage by your kids. If you are in the market for a cell phone, check out www.kajeet.com.
1. The age/maturity/situation factor
The first thing to ask yourself is if your child is old or mature enough for a cell phone along with whether your child is in a situation where having a cell phone is justifiable. Will your child show responsibility with a cell phone? Does your child often walk home? These are all things to consider when thinking about getting a cell phone for your child.
2.Rules and Responsibility
A talk with your child on responsible cell phone usage seems to be the next logical topic of conversation. Each minute of usage adds up and can really get to be expensive. (If it's a matter of looking cool, tell them to just pretend to be talking to someone. Otherwise it looks cool enough to just have one to carry around in the first place.) Set limitations on how much time should be used and with whom they should be talking.
3. Speak Up
The word for the day must be sexting. It's in the local news. It's in the world news. We were all victims of peer pressure at one time or another. It doesn't matter how bright, popular or unpopular a child is. I think that since this is such a huge topic and also one of the main topics of the day, it's very important to sit down with your child and literally over-emphasize the importance of not getting caught up in this activity. One that once it takes place, it can't be reversed and can have a viral effect. One that you can face felony charges over- even for just being a recipient. Don't be afraid or feel that you will embarass your child when talking about this very sensitive and important topic.
4. Find some way to offer positive feedback and praise.
This goes a long way. It'll keep your kids with a willingness to do right. You praise them and they'll just keep wanting to do better. Tell them how proud it makes you that they're making an effort to not go over on their time usage. If you do have to offer any type of constructive criticism, always try to find a way to incorporate some form of encouragement them to do better next time.
I am a firm believer that communication between a parent and child is crucial. My mother had the experience of not feeling free to talk to her mother coming up and endeavored to make sure things were different between us. I've learned that this is absolutely important and also endeavor to make sure the lines are open between my children and myself. Take time and sit down and hear what they're saying to you. Show sincere concern. Offer feedback. Don't jump down their throats if they say something you totally disagree with because in doing so, they'll hesitate to come to you again, and may not. Don't be afraid to ask "personal" questions and don't say something that will cause them to hesitate coming back to you. Also I would suggest trying to bring up some way that you can relate to what's going on in their lives.