In this day and age, it’s no longer unusual to see middle and high school students with mobile phones, and often a smartphone at that. Parents often give their children a cell phone as a reward for good behavior or a gift during a special event. Regardless of the occasion, a lot of moms and dads provide a mobile phone thinking this would be one good way to stay connected with their young ones.
As a parent, you’ll know when it’s the right time to get your child a cell phone. Once that moment comes, you’ll surely be checking out which phone units are appropriate for your son or daughter. You’ll also be weighing the pros and cons of the different plans offered by phone service providers.
One thing you shouldn’t miss doing, however, is to lay down some rules when it comes to your child’s mobile phone usage. These guidelines are not meant to oppress, but to teach children the proper way to use their cell phones. When kids learn and practice the right mobile phone etiquette early on, they will be able to carry this with them throughout their lifetime.
It’s all about respect
There are several places where cell phone use is limited or prohibited, and it’s important that your children know where they can and cannot use their handsets. Make it clear to your kids that their phones should be turned off in school, especially when classes are ongoing. Phones need to be in silent or vibrate mode when they’re in public areas such as libraries, hospitals, restaurants, and movie theaters.
Your children should also know to pick up the phone when it rings, particularly when it’s you (the parents) who are on the other line. Remind them that it’s impolite to make the person calling wait a long time for an answer.
Teach your children to lower their voice and talk as quietly as possible when taking calls in a public place. If they’re with a group, they should also remember to excuse themselves. Let the kids know that doing so will help them avoid offending people.
Some parents don’t allow their children to use the phone at specified times. Explain to your kids that if their friends’ parents have such rules, then they should comply with them. You may also want to appoint mealtimes as cell phone-free periods. Explain that it’s rude to text or call when you’re together at the dinner table, and encourage them to engage in face-to-face conversations with the family instead.
Furthermore, remind the kids not to use their phones to send photos or messages that they won’t want their parents to see. Spreading things that would hurt another person’s reputation is not allowed, either.
It’s important for children to understand that the main purpose of their mobile phones is for you to be able to contact them, and not so they can gossip nonstop with their friends and incur huge phone bills. Discuss the bill with your children and let them know how many minutes they’re entitled to use. Train the kids to track their minutes, so that they’re aware of how much they’re already consuming.
In addition, impress upon your children the dangers of texting or calling while driving a vehicle. A lot of accidents have already happened because of this. You can hammer the lesson home by being a model, and not calling or texting while you yourself are driving.
Teach your kids to make their phones a tool for helping other people. Ensure that they have emergency numbers in their contacts list, and instruct them on how to handle emergency calls. Furthermore, make it clear that in times of emergency, the first thing they should do is call for help, and not post photos on Facebook or Instagram.
There are many other things you might want to teach your children regarding cell phone usage. Remember to clearly explain why following these are important, so that they’ll understand the boundaries and be more compliant with your instructions.