Everyone has a cell phone. At least, that’s what your teenager says to you during his/her constant pleas to have his/her own phone. One of the biggest questions making the rounds among parents of tweens and teens is not if, but when, to get your child a mobile device.
Teen cell phone usage continues to make headlines, from teen sexting bringing to light an old Massachusetts law which makes sexting a felony, to stories of how teens’ late night usage of cell phones could lead to mental health problems. On the one hand, parents like the thought of being able to reach their kids at any time; on the other hand, cell phones bring a whole slew of issues to the parenting realm that many parents, much less children, are prepared for.
The majority of teenagers and parents report feeling safer when teenagers have their own cell phones because of GPS features, which allow parents to know where teens are, and also serve as insurance against abduction because of tracking capability. That said, if your child needs a phone for emergency, there should be restrictions in place for usage, and there should be consequences prepared for ahead of time if your child breaks one of the golden rules.
If you decide to allow your child to have his/her own cell phone, whether in middle school or high school, here are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind.
Remember that tweens and teens with cell phones are still children. If you decide to give a tween or a teen a cell phone, you must remember that the brain of this child isn’t yet done forming.