HOW TO PARENT YOUR KID’S FIRST CELL PHONE




With many real and fake stories about the dangers of technology coming past every day, it’s no wonder you’re nervous about giving your child a cell phone. But with some sensible rules in place, it doesn’t have to be a parenting nightmare.


Even experts can't agree on the best age to give a child a cell phone. Bill Gates of Microsoft fame says his children got phones when they went to high school. James Steier, CEO of the online advice service Common Sense Media, agrees and adds: “"No two kids are the same, and there's no magic number ... A kid's age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level.”

That’s the key. How is your child with responsibilities? How often does he lose stuff, forget routines or ignore rules? Your child might need a phone sooner because of circumstances – when they start taking a lift club or public transport to school, for instance. But in the end the question is if they’re ready to use a phone responsibly and look after it.

MAKE IT A BIG DEAL
Start with a hand-me-down – an old phone from you or perhaps a family member who’s upgrading. For most kids this will be better than nothing. Clean out old data and unwanted apps and set the parental controls.

Give the phone for a special birthday, a new year at school or any other special occasion. This says “you're old enough now” and can be a strong symbol of mutual trust.

Before the day of the handover, it’s time for rules. Don’t make them, discuss them and come to an agreement.

Explain how much airtime and data costs and how long they last. Agree who will pay for them. Decide what happens if the phone is lost or needs repairs and how rules will change if the phone must be replaced. If you’re a Jet Club member don’t forget to use your Airtime and Wifi Benefit.


BEST BEHAVIOUR
Brush up on their phone manners: the right way to answer a phone, make a call and leave a polite message. Talk about texting as well and explain that you can’t assume everyone will reply right away. Ask from what time at night the “ping” of a phone would annoy them. They can let friends know they don’t reply to texts after that hour. 

At first, you could talk to your child every night about the calls and texts they made that day. Show genuine interest – it must not seem like an interrogation. Ask how it changed his day and if he sometimes wasn’t sure how to reply to a message.

Even teens struggle to understand long-term consequences. But you have to explain now that every message and pic is out there pretty much permanently and can be forwarded endlessly.

Your child will know a story – real or urban legend, doesn’t matter about a kid whose private pic ended up on every phone at school. Talk about how you can prevent that happening. The answer would be: don’t post, write or upload anything that isn’t okay for anyone to see.


TALKING RESPECT
If someone asks them to send a sexy photo, they should remember that even with Snapchat a pic can be copied and forwarded. Page through magazines together and discuss which pictures would be too revealing, sexy or provocative for social media. If they receive a sexy photo, they should delete it, tell you and block the number.

Talk about how you respond if a friend sends a mean message. Best option: turn off the phone and don’t respond. Talk to them the next day, face to face.

How do they feel about privacy? If they want theirs respected, they should do the same for others. Ask before forwarding a personal pic. Ask before taking a pic.

Look for familiar examples to get your point across. Do you tell strangers where you live? So, would you post your phone number or location online? Just as you won’t open the door at home to strangers, don’t respond to a phone number you don’t know. And a text you didn’t ask for is probably spam, so delete it.

Agree on a few blocks of time every day when phones must be off – during dinner, while doing homework. Decide where they can charge their phone – not in their own room overnight.

FACE TIME FIRST
What you don’t want, is addiction… which means setting an example yourself. If your child wants to talk, put down the phone, look them in the eye and let them have your undivided attention.

Finally, you can leave them with this though: face time beats screen time, every time. 
HOW TO PARENT YOUR KID’S FIRST CELL PHONE HOW TO PARENT YOUR KID’S FIRST CELL PHONE Reviewed by Jet Club on July 06, 2019 Rating: 5

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