Cell phone use has become commonplace for teenagers and continues to grow for younger children. Parents can teach their children that responsibility goes along with mobile privileges through a set of cell phone rules. Set limitations on when, where and how the cell phone can be used. Advise children that, when the rules are broken, cell phone privileges will be lost.
Cell Phone contract
Teach teenagers responsibility with a cell phone contract. A clear contract will advise the teen of the consequences to breaking rules. Use the contract to set a time limit for conversations or a cut off time for the cell phone each night.
Make teens responsible for any extra minutes or extra texts they use. The usage limit could be predetermined by the cell phone plan or the parent. This makes children financially aware of a cell phone's cost.
The contract also can include a rule stating that, if too many rules are broken in a set time, cell phone privileges will be lost. Use the contract to enforce good grades in school. Advise teens that phone privileges will be lost if their grades drop below a certain GPA.
Cell phone Uses
Before giving a child a cell phone, parents can reiterate the fact that the cell phone can be used for enjoyment but primarily is for emergency situations and parent-child contact. A teen should be required to answer the phone when a parent calls. The teen has the cell phone to inform parents of the teen's whereabouts or changes in plans.
The parent can set rules as to where the cell phone can be used. For example, the child may be able to use the phone on school grounds outside of school hours. The cell phone may be prohibited in places such as church or on family outings. Make teens aware of the state's cell phone laws while driving or advise them they cannot use the phone while driving.
Cell Phone Safety
Advise teens to answer calls and texts only from people that they know. Instruct children that they are allowed to use the cell phone only in a common area. Teens always should be aware of their surroundings. They must not allow the cell phone to be a distraction.
Monitor the cell phone. This includes reviewing the history of the Internet sites visited, reading text messages and keeping a call log. Teenagers should not be allowed to give out any private information such as residence location, personal or parent-related information. Encourage teenagers to openly discuss disturbing phone calls or text messages.