After the Successful Screenagers discussion at TOPS, we thought we would provide some ongoing information on resources and ideas on ways to deal with technology in our families and our lives.
This Month: Cellphones!
Thinking about getting your child a cell phone? If you are not sure your child is mature enough or you need help establishing ground rules, read on!
Is my child ready? Am I ready?
From Commonsense Media, here are some things to ask yourself before making the plunge (and the splurge):
When you hand your children cell phones, you're giving them powerful communication and media-production tools. They can create text, images, and videos that can be widely distributed and uploaded to websites instantly.
If you think your kids' technological savvy is greater than their ability to use it wisely, pay attention to the gap. You may need to say, "No, not yet." But if you think they might be ready, their ages aren't as important as their maturity level, ability to follow your (and their schools') rules, and their sense of responsibility.
Here are some questions to consider:
● Do your kids show a sense of responsibility, such as letting you know when they leave the house? Do they show up when they say they will?
● Do your kids tend to lose things, such as backpacks or homework folders? If so, expect they might lose an (expensive!) phone, too.
● Do your kids need to be in touch for safety reasons?
● Would having easy access to friends benefit them for social reasons?
● Do you think they'll use cell phones responsibly -- for example, not texting during class or disturbing others with their phone conversations?
● Can they adhere to limits you set for minutes talked and apps downloaded?
● Will they use text, photo, and video functions responsibly and not to embarrass or harass others?
Source: Commonsense Media: What's the right age for parents to get their kids a cell phone?
Establishing Ground Rules
What kind of phone should your child have? How can I respectfully monitor my child’s usage? Follow this link to Seattle Children’s Hospital’s for help with establishing guidelines:
Seattle Children's Hospital: Should my teen have a cell phone?
How can we incorporate technology safely into our lives and maintain a healthy balance between screentime and true face-to-face (or alone!) time? Take The Pledge! Follow this link to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Media Time Family Pledge: American Academy of Pediatrics: How To Make a Family Media Use Plan ..and yes, the adults might have to do some changing too.