At some point, your children will ask for their own cell phone. There are no hard or fast rules regarding when it’s appropriate to give a child a cell phone. It’s all based on a child’s maturity level, and what you are comfortable with. But once you make the decision to give your child a phone, it’s important that they manage this device responsibility.
Like most parents, you’ll no doubt set ground rules for your children to follow. Keep in mind, however, children often mimic the habits of their parents. So if you want your children to use their cell phone responsibly, it’s important that you set a good example. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t keep your phone attached to your hip
Depending on the nature of your job, you might need to use your cell phone after hours. This is understandable. But at the same time, do everything you can to put some distance between you and your phone.
If your children perceive that you can’t survive without your phone, they’re likely to imitate this habit. So rather than always have your phone attached to your hip, put it away at times. If you accidentally leave the house without your phone, don’t panic. Your children will see this and respond in a similar manner.
It also helps to get into a habit of not bringing your phone to the dinner table, and not immediately pulling out your phone whenever you’re bored. Encourage conversation and other ways to kill time. Teach them not to rely on their phones in similar situations.
- Don’t text and drive
Even if your children aren’t old enough to drive, you can still set a good example by not texting and driving. Texting and driving contributes to many accidents each year. Not only will this keep you and your children safe, your children may remember the good example you’ve set and listen when told to drive safely.
Understandably, you’re not always in the car to monitor their driving habits. But if you tell them “not” to text and drive, and they observe this behavior from you, they may downplay the danger of texting behind the wheel.
- Remove social media apps from your phone
Again, children follow the example of their parents. If your children see you constantly on social media and less engaged with the family, they may follow this example and use social media when it’s not appropriate.
Children who become too engrossed in social media can become so wrapped up in the lives of their online friends that they don’t live in the moment. They may compare their lives to others, feel inferior, and develop stronger connections with people online.
As a parent, if you feel that you’re becoming overly engrossed in social media, remove the apps from your phone. This might help your child keep social media in its proper place. You can also help curb a child’s social media addiction by setting limits. Maybe limit the number of social media apps they’re allowed to download, and don’t allow your children to use their phone after a certain time of the day.
- Stop using your phone in bed
You can also encourage children not to use their phone in bed. This includes texting friends before bed, watching movies on their phone, playing games, etc.
Again, you have to set the right example and not use your phone in bed. This gives everyone a break from technology – plus, you’ll avoid overstimulation before bed.
You may prefer that your older children have a cell phone so they can contact you in an emergency. Even so, using a cell phone requires a great deal of responsibility. If you want your children to be responsible with their phones, it’s important that you lead by example.