5 Situations That Should Be ‘Never Ever’ Times for a Kids Phone
Deciding when to buy your kids their first phone is a difficult call (no pun intended). There are so many things to worry about when entrusting your children with devices of their own. To gain peace of mind as a parent, establish some ground rules before your kids boot up their new device.
Talk with each child about situations that should never happen when they get their first phone. Starting them off right will prepare them for better decision-making when the time comes that they move on from a more protected kids phone and experience decreased tech supervision. Here are five “never evers” for your kids and their phones:
1. When Their Kids Phone Disrupts Family Time
Every parent’s fear is that as soon as their children get a device, it will be all they can think about. Time with family is precious. You only grow up once, after all, and making the most of childhood and adolescence puts you on the right track for adulthood.
A common no-phone zone is the dinner table. This is a time and place for the entire family to get together and talk about their day. Having cell phones out defeats the purpose. Besides, you need your hands to eat!
The dinner table isn’t the only place where kids phones can disrupt family togetherness. If you find your kids spending more time on their devices instead of with each other, it might be time to intervene. Set up an incentive chart to earn electronics time or dedicate certain times each day for phones to be put away.
2. When It Distracts Them From School
Another place children need to focus is in school. With COVID-19 disrupting lives everywhere, school might be at home for the time being. Regardless of whether they’re on a Zoom call or in a classroom, they can’t let their phone get in the way of learning.
When your kids go to school, you can’t monitor them to make sure they’re not sneaking in texts or playing games during class. Fortunately, their teachers can. Communicate to your children the importance of an education and teach them to show discipline by paying attention to instructors. And let them know that when they don’t, you’re bound to hear about it at the next parent-teacher conference.
3. When They Talk With Strangers
“Stranger danger” is a common lesson taught in American households. Of course, some strangers will be the proverbial “friends we haven’t met yet.” Even so, kids should never use their phone to speak or text with someone they don’t know without the supervision of a trusted adult.
Teach your children not to answer phone calls or texts from unknown numbers. Start by saving any contacts they might need so there’s no confusion. If your kids get a call or message from a number that’s not saved, instruct them to let an adult handle it.
Drill the idea into their heads that they should never give out personal information over the phone or online. This information is highly sought after by digital crooks who don’t deserve to use it against them. Keeping your kids’ information safe is vital for 21st century parenting.
4. When They Sneak in Nighttime Use
Everyone has fallen prey to late-night phone use at least once. Checking emails one last time or completing the next level of a mobile game is something that happens even to the loftiest of C-suite executives. However, late-night electronics use has consequences, especially for kids.
For starters, electronics emit blue light, which strains the eyes and disrupts sleeping patterns. Kids need their rest for proper development and to have the energy for school, chores, and hard play. Staying up until the wee hours looking at their kids phone is a recipe for disaster.
Using electronics late at night can spell other kinds of trouble for kids. Nighttime phone use offers the temptation to do things they don’t want their parents to see. Kids can say or do things they would regret in these circumstances, so it’s better to eliminate the opportunity.
5. When They Disobey
You’re the parent. Regardless of the time or place, what you say goes. This is especially true when it comes to your first kids phone. Even though their device is their responsibility, that doesn’t give them the right to glue themselves to it whenever they want.
Whether your kids are at home, school, or anywhere in between, phone use should never lead to disobedience. Before entrusting your children with a kids phone, sit down and talk with them about your expectations. If you ask them to put their phone down so they can help with chores, they should be expected to do so promptly, or they’ll be in danger of losing their privileges.
Kids make mistakes all the time. Be firm, yet forgiving when guiding them around these challenging situations. Soon you won’t have to tell them what to do — and what not to do — as they learn to navigate the world for themselves.