Today’s parents are getting their kids cell phones at younger and younger ages. No matter how old a child is when they get a phone, it’s important to establish ground rules to help your kids build healthy digital habits. These guidelines will help you build a plan to teach your young children how to use their new device responsibly – and keep you from worrying about their digital activities.
Cell Phone Usage:
- Clearly establish when your child is allowed to use their phone.
- Make sure you consider the phone policy of your child’s school when building out your agreement.
- Establish phone-free zones or locations, like the dinner table, where devices are prohibited.
- Consider designating a place for kids to store their phone during cell phone-free times, like a shared charging station.
Create a parent-child phone agreement to help your child explore their digital world.
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.
Download the Google Family Link app to locate them as long as they have their device.
Cell Phone Courtesy, Safety and Etiquette:
- Include 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.
- Discuss your expectations for how children should share pictures and videos, as well as the dangers of cyberbullying.
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 for 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 Android, can help parents and kids feel better about finding lost devices
- After you have worked out a parent-child phone 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.
- 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.
We are committed to helping families build healthy digital habits. Learn about how our partnership with Google Family Link can help you set parental controls and teach kids how to navigate devices responsibly with U.S. CellularⓇ.