About to get your teen their own cell? Don’t panic, we’ve got tips to help!
Every generation of parents has their own unique set of trials and tribulations when it comes to educating their kids. Today’s moms and dads have to grapple with guiding their children on cell phone usage. And it’s no small challenge.
Preteens are already voracious consumers of new technologies, with this age group making up a significant portion of consumers. Yes. And so the question on every parent’s mind is how to go about giving their beloved child their first cell phone without taking a wrong turn. After all, you want to do it in a way that’s responsible, ethical and doesn’t hinder your child’s education and development. It’s not that easy.
One solution is to get several mobile lines for the same household and control the plans for your kids. For example, this could mean giving them limited data. Both parents and kids get what they want, including the chance to establish mutual understanding and trust about cell phone use. Consider Videotron’s (unlimited!) free Talk and Text plans,* which gives teens a first taste of telecommunications (including unlimited texting!). They’ll learn the basic attitude that’s needed and you won’t have to pay a cent. Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, you can choose to progress to the next level by adding data so that your teen can discover the world of mobile apps and internet.
How you choose to educate your kids about mobile phone use is a very personal matter, but we’ve got a few universal recommendations intended to help parents breathe a little easier.
Tip #1: Set very clear rules with your teen concerning when and where they can use their phone. You’ll want to decide how many hours per week they can spend on their device or on the social media networks you’ve authorized. Remember that the virtual world should not infringe on certain times of day, like morning and bedtime routines or meals. It’s always annoying to have dinner with someone who is busy liking photos on Instagram or playing Angry Birds.
Tip #2: Remind your child that their phone is provided courtesy of you. Therefore, if they don’t follow the rules you’ve set together or if they start having behaviour or academic problems, you can confiscate the device. Be firm, but not too firm.
Tip #3: This isn’t news to anyone, but it’s a friendly reminder of what we’ve all been through. Teens don’t generally take good care of their things, and the screen of an iPhone is much more fragile than most items you find at Toys “R” Us. By entrusting your adolescent with a phone, you make them responsible for an item that technically belongs to someone else. That said, accidents happen, so choose an inexpensive device. And since you can never be too cautious when it comes to kids, you might want to add our Mobile Device Protection Program (details here).
Tip #4: Stay up to date on the latest apps. Do you want to keep an eye on your kid’s daily updates and the new features available on the apps they use (like when Instagram offers new filters for its stories or when Snapchat activates geolocation)? Before you can talk to your teen about how they use these things, you’ll need to catch up on tech news. Google is your friend.
Tip #5: Keep an eye on the content your teen accesses, but don’t secretly spy on them. Instead, establish mutual trust by installing parental controls (in the phone’s settings) together and choosing the passwords. Your teen should know that you can see everything that happens on the phone, from messaging to accessing music, videos, websites, etc.
It all needs to start somewhere, and you’re in charge of setting rules and limits. If you get it right, there’s little chance that your child will become nomophobic like me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯