6 Questions to Ask before Buying Children Cell Phones
In this day and age, almost all parents have cell phones. Naturally, their children get used to seeing their parents using them.
At a very young age, they can already appreciate the practicality, functionality and attractiveness of cell phones. And it comes as no surprise when they start wanting one of their own.
When the time comes, this isn’t an issue that parents should take lightly. There is a list of questions that we recommend asking yourself before allowing your child to have their own cell phone.
You might be debating if this is really a good time for your child to have personal cell phone access, or if it would be better to wait. Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer that applies to every family or every child.
The answer will depend on the needs and the reality of each family. Every family is unique, just like every child matures at a different pace.
Below are a few suggestions about what you should take into account when making this important decision.
Questions to ask yourself before you give your child a cell phone
1. Does your child really need a cell phone?
Ask yourself why you think having a cell phone would be beneficial for your child’s safety.
For example, does your child spend time at home alone and need a cell phone in order to contact you? Does your child use public transport for any reason?
If your child stays late after school some days or participates in extracurricular activities, those are also factors to take into consideration.
It’s important that your child be able to communicate with you when needed, and a cell phone might be the best option.
2. Is your child mature enough to properly use and care for a cell phone?
Having a cell phone doesn’t mean using it day and night, without limits, while mom and dad pay the bills. Also, children need to learn to use their phones responsibly and intelligently.
For example, you could also require your child to earn phone credit through things like extra household chores.
3. Are you ready to set clear rules and guidelines about cell phone use?
Before you give your child a phone, you, your partner and your child need to be clear on the rules, norms and limits. Your child should know your expectations regarding his or her cell phone usage.
This should be a family conversation in which all parts come to a common understanding. It’s important to clarify when, where, and how much your child can use the phone.
It’s also important to clarify what the phone can be used for, and what not. And, of course, your child should know what the consequences are for violating these terms.
4. Does your child know how to make good decisions?
Does your child have a habit of making good decisions instead of acting on impulse? When your child is out of your presence, does he or she still stick to your rules?
Questions like this will help you determine if your child will be responsible when it comes to cell phone usage.
If your child doesn’t have the maturity to make good decisions in other areas, then don’t expect behavior to be any different with a phone.
Technology brings us closer to those who are far away, and farther away from those that are close
5. Have you had a serious conversation with your son or daughter about cell phone use?
Before handing over a cell phone to your child, it’s important that you have a serious conversation about making good decisions.
At the same time, you’ll need to clarify what your expectations are, and what the consequences will be if your child violates those expectations.
Talk to your child about your concerns, and explain what behaviors regarding cell phone use can be problematic or even put your loved one in danger.
Talking with strangers, intimidation, texting and pornography are issues that you should bring up to keep your child safe.
Don’t automatically assume that your child will make good decisions regarding these issues. Explain the rules and the reasons behind them clearly.
If needed, put a parental control on the phone to help keep your child safer when using it.
6. What will happen if the phone breaks?
Cell phones break for all different reasons, so this is also an issue you need to foresee. Talk with your child about what will happen in the case that the phone breaks, or gets lost or stolen.
Will there be a replacement? If so, who will pay for it? Will your child be responsible for finding the money to fix it or buy a new one?
Discuss the possibilities to avoid conflicts later on.
Your son or daughter needs to know that cell phones are not toys – there are rules that must be obeyed.
Furthermore, make sure your child is of appropriate age and maturity before giving him or her a phone.