Does your tween/teen really need a mobile phone? It’s a question just about every parent faces. The answer usually comes down to responsibility and need. Their ability to understand the risks associated with misuse and the importance of mobile phone safety is a key indicator of emotional readiness for a mobile phone. If the answer is yes, and your child has good reason to need one, then it’s a good decision.
Ultimately, each family has to make an individual decision, but here are some points to consider.
Consider the Need
1. Does your teen drive or frequently ride in cars driven by other teens? You certainly don't want to encourage talking or texting while driving, but if your teenager does tool around town in a car, a mobile phone may be a good idea. Likewise, if he hitches rides with his friends, you may want to give him a way to get in touch with you easily if the driver isn’t sober; something happens that makes him uncomfortable; or if the car is too full to accommodate him safely.
2. Is your teen involved in sports, youth group or other club activities that take him out of town regularly? Whether the travel is overnight or simply into the late hours, you may want a way to reach your child when he's out and about. A daily check-in gives you a chance to make sure everything is all right, and it's reassuring to your teen as well—even if he'd never admit it.
3. Are you regularly out of town or at work late? Maybe you're the one with the crazy calendar. While you're out earning a living, your teen is on his/her own. So, you may want to be able to contact your child at a moment’s notice to let your teen know that you’re running late, or check in to make sure things are ok at home. You can even use an app such as Life 360 to track his/her whereabouts while you’re away on business or working late.
Consider the Want
Why does your teen really want the phone? Is it so that he can be in touch with you? Or is it so that he can be more in the social loop? Or is it because all his or her friends have one? That's not necessarily a bad thing—but you should be aware of it and acknowledge it as the reason for the phone if that's the case.
Along with the primary purpose for the phone, you should consider the rules for its use. Who pays for overages—and what are the consequences? Will you be able to see the phone whenever you want to check text messages, call logs and other information?
Consider Your Teen
Do you trust your teen to take the responsibility seriously? This is perhaps the most critical question to consider. Has your teen demonstrated responsibility? A mobile phone can be a questionable thing for a teen to have. Can your child handle it? Only you can decide the answer to that question—but seek out advice from those you trust if you need another opinion.
Mobile phone parental controls make mobile phone safety less of a hassle. Common mobile phone parental controls include:
Check out the website associated with your child’s phone to see what controls are offered and how to set things up the way you want them.
Note: Sections here on child mobile phone readiness and parental controls were drawn from www.sheknows.com. There’s more great information there if you wish to learn more.
Once you've made the decision to give your child, tween or teen a mobile phone, consider following these general usage and safety tips to assure they really enjoy their phones without getting into trouble. Some are more age-appropriate for younger or older kids, so use your own good judgment as to when to follow these suggestions.
If you’re concerned as a parent about your child’s safety online, you aren’t alone: a recent survey found that 94% of parents are either VERY or SOMEWHAT concerned about their children’s safety online. As your kids head back to class and start using the internet on both home and school computers with greater frequency, it’s a great time for you to take precautions and have discussions with kids about internet safety.
Click hereto find out just how technology savvy you are as a parent!
|Chat Room||An online service that allows users to communicate with each other about an agreed upon topic in "real time" as opposed to delayed time, as with e-mail.|
|Download||Copy a file from one computer system to another. From the Internet user's point of view, to download a file is to request it from another computer (or from a web page on another computer) and to receive it.|
|A way of sending messages electronically from one computer to another, generally through a cable modem with wired or wireless connection to a computer.|
|The Internet||A worldwide collection of computer networks that allows people to find and use information and communicate with others.|
|Netiquette||Social rules of decorum for interacting with others online.|
|Search Engine||A program such as Google that performs keyword searches for information on the Internet.|
|Surfing||The act of browsing through the Internet looking for topics or groups of personal interest.|
|Blog||A site on the web where an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis, often on a specified topic or subject.|
|Stands for Portable Document Format, a proprietary document format developed by Adobe.|
|JPG||A compressed image file format often used for photography (pronounced ‘Jay-Peg’)|
|Spam||Unsolicited or unwanted e-mail, usually commercial in nature|
|Domain Name||An internet address, often in the form of www.something.com, that can be used to find a given person’s or organization’s web-based home.|
|Browser||Software used to locate, retrieve and display content on the World Wide Web. Also, the space where one pastes or types in a web address that the software will then locate and retrieve for you.|
Note: Some of the above information on parents and technology is drawn from www.amle.org, the Association for Middle Level Education website.
We all know the basic benefits of mobile phones, but they can do so much more than provide texting, e-mailing and calling features. You can turn any family phone into the ultimate safety device if everyone knows how to take advantage of these great features.
Life360 is one phone emergency safety app that provides a way for families on the go to keep each other safe by turning their mobile phones into ultimate safety devices. Use the link below to find out more about services:www.life360.com/free