Lots of families started the new year with tweens receiving smart phones for Christmas. But as with all phases of childhood, crossing this technology threshold brings much to consider.
Yes, your child is now more readily available. And yes, you can find him in an instant (provided he answers your calls or texts). But if your child has a smart phone, this new gadget is about way more than texting friends or calling home. It's about data use and downloading material without your knowledge and racking up some serious phone bills until boundaries are established.
So what kind of guidelines have you worked out with your tween? Kids at this age aren't very good at thinking through the consequences of their behavior. You need to consider what you will — and won't — allow early in the game, preferably before that device gets into their hot little hands. We found several websites that offer good advice.
First, check out safekids.com. They have a downloadable smart phone guide for parents of tweens and teens, as well as a checklist that addresses whether your child is ready for a phone. They also offer a host of pages with safety advice.
The Online Mom also does a solid job tackling smart phone issues as well as a whole range of online topics relevant to parents today, including video games, the Internet, protecting your kids from online bullying, and more.
For a useful take on how to avoid having your child tied to their phone 24/7 (are you setting a good example?) Positive Parenting Solutions has a list of technology ground rules that will ensure you stay in the loop per how your child is using his or her phone and data. Finally, we like Common Sense Media for overall take on technology and media for families today.
Can you hear me now? That's the least of our worries.