Kids today seem to be born with an innate sense of how to use a smart phone and text. You have seen a very small child holding their moms cell phone and playing some game while Mom sits there and has coffee with a friend. Lately, there have been more discussions about whether or not cell phones are safe for our children to use primarily because we don’t know what the waves that connect our cell phones to each other are doing to our children’s developing brains.
My four children all have cell phones. But as I was telling another mom who was concerned about her teenager using a cell phone, I’m not entirely convinced my kids know there is a phone on their cell phone. They use these devices to text, play video games, record video and upload it to the internet, take still pictures and tune their guitar (yes there’s an app for that).
Kids don’t spend as much time with their cell phones held up to their ear. Even still there are things we can do to ensure their cell phone use is as safe as possible.
1)Do not give them a smart phone under the age of 13.
Know your own kid – some kids are ready for the responsibility of a phone earlier than other kids. One gauge our family used was the way they were able to take care of their own bedroom. When they could keep their own room clean then we knew they were ready to take on more responsibility.
If you really want to give your younger kid a phone consider one with limited functions. Look for a phone that only calls Mom, Dad, and an emergency number. The point is that you want to be able to get ahold of them and you want them to be able to call you. That is all that is needed.
3)Use a headset
4)Set up a docking station in a central room of your house where everyone always charges their cell phones and have your child / teen plug their phone in at night.
Do not let them sleep with their phone.
Do not let them use the “my battery died” excuse for not calling home when they are going to be late.
5)Set limits. Have your kids involved in this conversation and let them know what your concerns might be. Revisit these limits yearly – as your children grow and mature their phone privileges should too.
6)Be a good role model for your kids.