I know how much joy you would get from giving your teen the latest and greatest smartphone. Or even one that’s not the newest model, but one that you can at least read the screen. (I didn’t know cell phone glass could crack into so many pieces! My daughter’s screen is barely readable!)
Here is why we don’t GIVE them a phone. We buy the phone and let them use it. We make it clear it is OUR phone. Yes, there is a difference.
It may feel like it’s theirs, but make it known from the beginning that it is yours and therefore it can be taken away at any time for any reason. You can ask to see it. You can go through it. When they spend too much time on it or you sense there are issues, you have the right to take it away for a while. (Um…Aren’t you paying for the service, anyways?)
Since it is your phone and they are borrowing it and because it is a privilege (It’s not an American right), you can use it as leverage. “Not doing well in school?” No more cell phone. “Disrespectful?” Gone. “Didn’t do your chores?” Say good-bye.
There are dangers that come with these devices which means there is added responsibility. Please check out this post about protecting your loved ones: TWO SETTINGS TO KEEP THE DARK SIDE OUT.
For those of you who are new to having a child with a cell phone (or tablet), you may want to look at this agreement (edit it as you see fit). This is the best way to start giving them this new responsibility. Click here for more info on hosting our Parenting Techies Workshop.
Have a wonderful Christmas!
Jonathan & Carrie