Sunday, 13 July 2014

How to Teach Kids to Handle Cell Phones

How to Teach Your Kids to Use Them Responsibly

       Teaching your child to say “please” and “thank you” is usually second nature; it’s been done for generations and comes pretty naturally. But teaching your children how to use a cell phone responsibly – that is, how to exercise proper “cell phone etiquette” – may be a bit more of a gray area.As public cell phone use continues to increase, a set of general, behavioral guidelines is beginning to take shape. Here are some tips on how to teach this important lesson of proper cell phone use.

      For grade school children, no need for a smart phone. But for basic communication with family or emergencies consider a Pay As You Go plan.

These tips can help you:

Decide whether your kid is ready for a cell phone
•    Teach basic cell-phone safety
•    Explain responsible cell phone rules
•    Set limits

6 Cell Phone Rules for Your Kids

If you decide your child is ready for a cell phone, set the ground rules first.

Buy them a basic phone: Yes, you can still get a phone that doesn't include a camera, Internet access, games, and texting. If you're passing one of your phones down to your child, turn off all the extra features. And if your child complains, remind her that phones are tools, not toys. "It's about safety, not social status or games," Knorr says.

Set limits: Most cell phone companies allow you to cap the number of texts a user can send or receive as well as the number of minutes the cell phone can be used. If a child goes over the designated plan amount, have her pay the extra charges. (Older teens can be responsible for their entire cell bills.) You also can block Internet access and calls from unapproved numbers on most phones.

Set more limits: Designate times that the cell phone needs to be turned off -- for instance, during family meals, after 10 p.m., and during school hours. If your teen is a driver, insist that he or she not use the phone when driving. Some families don't allow cell phones in children's rooms at night to keep kids from texting or making calls after bedtime. Insist that your child answer your calls and texts right away, and teach your child not to answer or return calls and texts from people they don't know.

Follow the same limits yourself: Let's face it: You have to walk your talk. If you don't want your child to use the phone during meals or while driving, follow those rules yourself. If you don't want him or her to compulsively check the phone, don't do so yourself. You are your child's No. 1 role model, whether your child admits it or not.

Create some distance: For now, until the radiation risks are clearer, Moskowitz recommends using ear phones instead of holding the phone up to the ear. Also, don't let kids sleep with their phones under their pillows. He also advises against carrying cell phones in front pants pockets, due to a potential radiation risk to the reproductive system.

Teach good behavior: Children aren't born knowing the rules about how to use cell phones respectfully, including not using them to spread rumors, not taking (or sending) photos without people's permission, not sending inappropriate photos or texts, not having personal conversations in public places – and, of course, never communicating with strangers, no matter how they present themselves. It's up to you to teach them.

      As parents, it's important for us to understand this technology's appeal, know what it can offer as well as the possible dangers it poses and set limits to guide and protect our kids. Whether your child is begging for a cell phone or has one already, here are some things to consider:

      Most cell phone companies offer text-messaging packages that give users incentive to text rather than talk. If your child is new to a cell phone, you might consider a plan with minimum (if any) text messages until they can prove themselves trustworthy. Parents should also explain to their children that text messaging is not an acceptable forum for discussing more serious matters.

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