When the first hand-held cell phone call was placed in 1973, I’ll bet the inventor didn’t realize what a cultural and social phenomenon had begun! With the advent of Smartphones and the rapidly improving technology that makes more knowledge and convenience available at our fingertips, cell phones are no longer simply for making calls. A study in 2013 found that Americans spend about an hour per day on their cell phones, and only about a quarter of that time was spent actually talking.
To complicate things even more, parents today are letting their kids use cell phones at younger and younger ages. Mine had to wait until they were 16! Statistics reveal that close to 25% of 6 to 9 year olds own a cell phone. That number jumps to 60% of 10 to 14 year olds who own a cell phone. And a whopping 84% of 15 to 18 year olds own a cell phone. Cell phone etiquette has grown increasingly complicated, so it’s important we teach our kids the dos and don’ts of cell phone use, especially as they’re exposed to cell phones earlier in childhood.
- Follow your parents’ guidelines. Every family has different rules about cell phones, like when and where they can be used. Some kids can only use them when they’re away from the home, like at school. Others have to put them away during family times, like dinner or movie night.
- Text things you’d be okay with your parents reading. If your mom or dad finds your phone on the counter and decides to read through it, be sure that they will find only positive conversation and words.
- Choose an appropriate ringtone. If you decide to have a song as your ringtone, be sure to check that the tune and lyrics are appropriate. This is an important rule to remember since your phone can go off at any time and with anyone!
- Have a curfew for using your phone. With all the apps and social media and forms of communication, a phone easily becomes a temptation to stay up all night. Studies also show that staring at a bright screen before bed is a detriment to sleeping well. Even for adults, it’s necessary to set a curfew each evening for when to put your phone away.
- Encourage your friends. Make the most of the opportunities you have to text your friends a cheerful text or Bible verse.
- Share your password with your parents. It’s always important that your mom and dad are able to get into your phone to check that you’re being safe.
- Use your phone while you’re with others. Constantly checking your phone when you’re with friends or family is a rude habit. The best way to give your full attention is to put your phone in your pocket and leave it there.
- Download apps or music without your parent’s approval. Always talk to your parents before downloading new things on your phone.
- Write rude or hurtful things. Whether it’s texts, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, avoid posting mean or questionable comments about others, and don’t use your phone to gossip.
- Let your phone be a disruption. You don’t want to be that kid whose phone goes off during a test! Turn your phone off or silence it before going to school, church, the movies, or any other gathering where it could go off and disrupt those around you.
- Give out your number to people you don’t know well. When dealing with your phone, safety always comes first. Be sure to only exchange numbers with people that you and your parents know well.
These rules can help keep your child safe, and make sure they’re not being rude to others with their cell phones. Make sure you set your own guidelines, as well!
Do you have any cell phone rules in your family? Share them with us in the comments below!
[Some information was taken from http://www.education.com/reference/article/cell-phones-your-child-pros-cons/.]