We swore we wouldn’t cave. But we did. During the first weeks of 6th grade, we bought my tween a smart phone. Just short of her 12th birthday, we deemed it appropriate and in ways, necessary, for her to have a way to communicate with us when not at home.
The purchase came with plenty of rethinking and second guessing our decision. At first we made a verbal contract on how she could and couldn’t use it. In time, we decided on 5 must-follow rules that she MUST FOLLOW if she wanted have the phone. If she didn’t follow any of the rules, the phone was done.
Smart Phone Rules for Tweens
- Mi password es su password. Yes, my password is your password. A parent will always have full access to the phone at any time. Yes, he/she who pays the bill maintains true ownership of the phone. Any password changes to ANY account must be shared. Change the password and not tell mom or dad, the phone is done.
- Life360 for all! While Find Friends works, this family prefers the free version of Life360. With this app, parents are aware of where the phone and hopefully its user are at all times. For driving teens, there is a driving monitoring component and appears to be very useful. If you delete or pause Life360 the phone is done.
- No night-night with the phone. The phone must be surrendered to mom & dad every night – at whatever the time may be. It doesn’t matter if your BFF is supposed to FaceTime you in 15 minutes. When a parent deems it is time for the phone to be excused for the night, it will. If we find the phone in your room after hours, the phone is done.
- I don’t care if you’re going to finally finish Candy Crush Level 2034 . If at any time a human being wants to talk to you, you put your phone down and look at them and engage in whatever the conversation may be. If we hear, “but wait mom I’m almost done,” – the phone is done.
- Erasing a text message doesn’t erase from your digital footprint. Don’t erase any texts that you send – better yet, don’t text anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read. As the phone owners, we will regularly check your text messages, social media and more sites to make sure all looks good for Grandma. Delete the messages, the phone is done.
There are many pluses to your tween/teen having a phone. Parents need to individually decided if and when is the right time for their child. Use these must-follow rules to create parameters in your home for the the smart phone is used.
More Smart Phone Rules
What has worked in your home? Share a comment below with other Smart Phone rules that you have incorporated with your phone user.