Cell Phones and Kids: When is the Time Right to Get them One?
The other day, I read a story that concerned me. A woman bought her children a cell phone. The cell phone was to be used as a house phone, a practice that has become common. Almost immediately, the children began receiving strange phone calls. Turns out, the number previously belonged to an adult worker and the number was on an adult site. This got me to thinking about my own child. I’ll admit it… my 10-year old has had a cell phone for the last 5 years. Ideally, I would have waited until she was a little bit older but her dad insisted she have it so he could communicate with her.
I actually think that her having a phone has forced me to ensure that I keep the lines of communication open between us. So… I’ve decided to share my steps and missteps in this adventure of the #zarahrosechronicles #cellphoneedition. We had to set realistic expectations and rules. Before we ever gave her the phone, we sat down together to discuss what the rules would be. We also put them in writing. That way she had a visual of what was expected of her and the consequences for not following through. I must say that she has done exceptionally well. We have been able to navigate the big scary world of cell phones with minimal issues.
Locations services have to be turned off for all social media (she hacks my Instagram and posts pictures)
Never post a play by play of your whereabouts on social media
Only answer calls from numbers that I have stored in her phone and do not give the number out without permission.
When in doubt, come to me. When you are scared, come to me. Whatever you think you can handle, come to me anyway. I admit being a little extra here but she has developed a habit of consulting me and that’s good.
Understand that the rules may change. Earlier this year, she was allowed to get a Mu.sicaly account. That ended after I observed several kids from her school using it as a tool for bullying. Although she wasn’t bullied, we were both concerned. We had a family meeting and we agreed to suspend her account. She was ok with it.
Limit time on all devices. I admit it. I probably allow her too much time on her devices but as long as we have family time and she is fulfilling her academic responsibilities, I give her a little breathing room.
I understand that this may not work for every parent, but it does for us. Only you know what’s best for your children. Blessings and Peace to You!
Tonya Ryan-Coker is a native Mobilian who currently resides in Alabaster Alabama. She enjoys crafting, listening to an eclectic mix of music, and most of all being the best single mommy she can to her 10- year old daughter, Zarah Rose. She serves as a worship leader in her local church. Tonya is passionate about all children and has spent the last 15+ years as an advocate for them in both the public and private sectors.