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By Charlotte Smith

Many children in the United States had new cell phone at the top of their Christmas wish list this year. Now Christmas has come and gone and some minors received exactly what they asked for, a new phone.

The mobile phone gifts bring to mind a news report from several years ago. A mom wrote her son an 18-point deal to go with his new iPhone.

Jane Hoffman, the mother of the 13 year old son wrote, ”I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.” Hoffman continued, “Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.”

After the mom added her undying affections toward her child in the note she listed some terms and conditions in order for her son to keep his phone. Here is a link to read the full article: https://news.yahoo.com/moms-18-point-iphone-rules-son-143831843–abc-news-parenting.html

Here are some rules and regulations I found you may find useful to have your children abide by when they have a phone:

  1. The password must be available to parents or guardians at all times. In a world filled with online predators, over sharing, sexting, inappropriate content, and dangerous apps it is important to be able to access your child’s phone.
  2. No cell phones during family meals, or other important family and friend times. Nothing should interfere with your family relationships and your family activities together. Lack of conversations due to cell phone interruptions, children being disinterested in family due to screen time are only two reasons to ban phones from family dinners and bonding times. To limit the fuss that may come when children must put away their phones, give them five minutes to finish up phone activity before meals or special time begins.
  3. Restricted camera access. Inappropriate photos are taken a million times a day. This is a perfect opportunity to educate your children on photos that are inappropriate to take. Locker rooms, bathrooms and maybe even bedrooms should be off limits for photo sessions. *Bonus tip: Family members or friends should ask permission to publish a photo taken with or of the family member or friend on social networking sites.
  4. Set up parental controls. There are numerous parental controls available on almost all smartphones. Apple iPhones even have built-in controls that can easily be enabled. While you can’t set up restrictions on non-Apple apps, like Instagram and Snapchat, you can block your child from downloading new apps. For Android phones, there are a lot of options available in the App store, like Kids Zone or Kids Place, which only allows your child to only access apps you’ve approved. MMGuardian lets you remotely monitor and control any activity on their phone according to teensafe.com. If you’re looking for something more comprehensive, there are services like Net Nanny or Qustodio that allow you to customize restrictions, like setting time limits, tracking calls, and monitoring social media to make sure your child isn’t looking at anything inappropriate. Also, don’t forget to take the time to talk to your child about why you are setting up controls on their phone. Explain to them the importance of being safe while surfing the web or using social media. In order to protect them and their phones even further, you might want to look into installing some form of antivirus software. There are many mobile Security options out there for you to try.
  5. Set a time limit for phone use. Experts gave parents suggestions for telephone use and the same should go for phone usage as well. According to kidslox.com a 2 hour a day maximum limit should be set for children.
  6. Put the phone to bed. Have a central location for the phone to be stored at night. A child’s bedroom is not ideal. A charging station in the living room or kitchen may be ideal. If a child is allowed to keep their phone in their bedroom, they may be tempted to use it after lights go out.
  7. Mind your manners. Put phones on silent during movies or interacting with others. Phones should not be used during learning hours at school. Teach your children to censor themselves. Sometimes it is easy to send things by text, social media or email that we normally would not say in person. Let your child know it is much better to think before you speak (or text).
  8. Don’t walk or drive while using your phone. Pay attention to your surroundings is important for your safety and the safety of others.
  9. School work and chores must be done before playing on the phone. Time can quickly get away from you while doing things you enjoy. Games and talking with friends may leave no time for things on your to do list. Make sure children understand the reason you request homework and chores to be done before they get distracted by their phones.
  10. Take care of your property. Mobile phones are expensive and owning a mobile device can be a great teachable lesson about value. Tell your children not to hold their phones near water. Phones shouldn’t be in the bathroom area. Children should be reminded to think about where they are putting their cell phones before they actually put it down somewhere. Also, having a screen protector and phone case on the phone at all times is another valuable point.

Mobile phones can be great tools, however, they can lead to very damaging outcomes. It is important for both adults and children to know the risks associated with technology.

There are other great tips out there. Below are some links to other sites offering advice to parents about their children’s mobile usage.



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