• Do they understand the financial
investment a cell phone requires? • Can they be trusted to use the phone
judiciously without racking up exorbitant charges?
• Can you trust them not to surf
inappropriate websites or send inappropriate messages? • Do they understand and accept that you
will have access to their email messages and texts at any time? Dr. Laura Markham, psychologist and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting says that when it comes to cell phones, parents need to discuss the rules and boundaries of their use with their children prior to making the purchase. After that, regular conversations should take place about their appropriate use, the texts they are receiving, apps they have on their phone, etc. When parents do make the decision to provide their child with a phone, there are a number of ways they can curtail their child’s usage and monitor their activity. On their web site, Verizon Wireless suggests parents buy their child a basic phone as opposed to a smart phone and consider a pre-paid or pay-as-you-go-plan so that fees do not spiral out of control.
Ultimately, the age at which to give a child a cell phone is a highly personal decision. It is a major responsibility, but also a chance for your son or daughter to show they can manage this type of accountability. Choose a plan wisely, have rules in place about proper usage and don’t be afraid to revoke the privilege if necessary – then enjoy the many benefits this modern technology provides that allow you to stay connected with your kids.
MARCH 2015 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM