Today’s parents are getting phones for their children at younger ages. With kids aged 7-10, it’s important that parents give guidance and establish rules when it comes to instilling responsibility for a new device.
Use these guidelines to build a plan or agreement with your child for how you expect them to use their new device responsibly.
What to Include in a Cell Phone Responsibility Agreement
Once you’ve determined what’s appropriate for your child, you can also use this handy tool to customize an agreement of your own that will help you and your child stick to a plan.
The great thing about these agreements is that they can be altered to meet your family’s unique needs and can be changed as your kids grow and become more responsible. Use these guidelines to build an agreement with your child.
Cell Phone Usage:
- Clearly establish when your child is allowed to use their phone.
- Make sure you consider your child’s school’s phone policy when building out your agreement.
- Establish cellphone free zones or locations where cell phones are prohibited. For example; the dinner table.
- Consider designating a place for them to store their phone during cell phone free times like a shared charging station.
Social Media, Gaming and Apps:
- Discuss and decide what games, apps and social media platforms are allowed and include your decision in your agreement.
- Set up their App store downloads with a password so they cannot download things without permission.
- Include rules on accepting friend requests and sharing location and pictures on social media.
Cell Phone Courtesy, Safety and Etiquette:
- Include here the importance of being aware of their surroundings and not using their phones while walking.
- Make sure your child knows not to share their location online, whether directly by posting publicly about where they are or indirectly by letting social media posts tag their location.
- Discussing your expectations on how children should be sharing pictures, videos and the dangers of cyberbullying are all good items to include in your agreement.
Cleaning, Care and Protection
- Talk to your kids about your expectations on keeping the phone clean and protected. A cleaning kit will help ensure your rules are followed.
- The right phone case and screen protector are essential in keeping the cell phone protected.
- You may want to discuss adding extra protection with a more rugged case to avoid accidental damage from drops or spills.
These guidelines are just a starting point to consider as you create your agreement. There are a variety of other topics you may want to consider including in your agreement depending on your family needs.
Tips to Help Make the Agreement Work
- Establishing a routine from the beginning where you can check in with your child regularly to ensure they know where their phone is at all times.
- Using an app like Find my iPhone, which is available on iOS and Android Device Manager available for Androids, can help both parents and kids feel better about finding lost devices.
- After you have come to an agreement, you can manually choose what your child can access. Android’s Restricted Profiles and Apple’s Restrictions are easy ways to control what your child can and cannot do with their new phone. We have some quick guidelines to help you do this here.
- Consider setting data limits through your wireless provider and teaching them how to connect to Wi-Fi to eliminate data overages.
Establishing a Responsibility Agreement and working with your child, can help them enjoy mobile games and browsing without it negatively affecting their home, school or social life.
For more useful information on helping your child take care of their first phone, check out our First Cell Phone Survival Kit.