6 Ways to Restrict Children’s Cell Phone Usage

Does your child get too much screen time? Recent studies show that children with more screen time are more likely to be obese and less active. While studies don’t always reveal all of the circumstances of a study, it makes a parent thin.

With my own kids I try to reduce screen time, but in a screen focus world it is difficult, so I’ve done some research to 6 wasy to restrict yoiur child's cell phone usagecome up with guidelines to help my kids stay creative and use their minds in other ways. I hope you find them helpful.

No cell phones during homework. It’s hard enough for a teen to pay attention to their homework and focus on getting the right answers without having constant beeping from friends who want to text.

The constant cell usage will distract them, making it take much longer to get work done, and this is a great opportunity to teach them the difference between work time and play time.

No cell phones during dinner. Americans are great at ignoring each other during what should be a bonding family time.

Take a look around any restaurant; everyone has their phone or tablet out chatting with friends, playing on apps, and ignoring each other.

Dinner used to be an opportunity to discuss your day, share stories and spend time with your families. Let’s take the time to enjoy our kids, they are only living with us for so long, and there is nothing more important than family.

Turn in your phones and tablets at 9pm on school nights. This one is going to drive your teens insane, while being great for them. They’ll hate the idea of not being able to do what they want, but they need to sleep.

During the teenage years sleep is extremely important, and one too many teens are caught making late night phone calls and exchanging texts at 3 am. It’s best for their health and their grades to follow this rule, even if it causes an argument or two.

Password protect downloads for children. Have you seen television shows where a kid puts hundreds of dollars on their parent’s cell phone bill?

When you give a young, or irresponsible, child/teen the password to make purchases and downloads without asking, this is bound to happen.

It’s quite easy to add a password and enter it when they want to buy something, with your permission. Another option is to only allow them to use gift cards for app/phone software purchases, so that their spending can be monitored.

Use your carrier’s text/minute/data limits. It’s annoying that your carrier charges to use these features, but they can save you a lot of money by endorsing limits that are easily passed by teens and children.

Choose how many texts, minutes and data space they can use each month and let them learn how to stay within those limits. There are free apps they can download to help them keep track.

Use software to cut back on their allowed cell phone time. There is software you can use to restrict their phone usage during certain hours.

This works great for keeping them off the phone, but they would be able to tell you are monitoring their phone time, which may be a drawback. If you tell them about it though, you’ll be able to automate when they can use their phones and not have to worry about watching them during these times.

Technology has made life so much easier than it was a mere 20 years ago, but it’s made us less connected and that’s something we want to avoid.

Using some of these restrictions might help you restore family time in your home, while also giving your child/teen time to make real connections, use their minds for play and learning, and helping you avoid the constant power struggle.

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Why Are Smartphones Good for Teens?

Have you gone to a restaurant lately? It seems that every table has a hand full of people who can’t detach themselves from cell phones or tablets.

We live in this uber-connected world, but not in real life. So why on earthy would parents want to buy their teenagers smartphones that give them even more reason to detach?small_8744409918

Just like parents thought almost 20 years ago when computers started entering the homes, kids/teens don’t NEED these things. But is that true?

Maybe for now, but if you consider how computers in the home have grown, and their attachment to education, you can easily see that smartphones and/or tablets won’t be far behind. To start with, today it’s beneficial for teens and kids to have smartphones, but how?

Look up facts? Remember when we had to go to the library for hours a week just to work on a school project?

A smartphone lets our kids have the entire world of knowledge right in the palm of their hands, just about any fact they want to look up is available, in seconds. There’s no reason for them to skimp out on school work because they have entire libraries on their phones.

Stay in touch with YOU. No matter where your child is, they should be able to call you, and you them. That’s one of the major benefits of a smartphone.

Reception with a smartphone is so good that it should work just about anywhere, as long as the battery isn’t dead. There isn’t much of an excuse to miss your call, or at the very least return it immediately.

Safety Sakes- It’s a fact the world has changed a LOT in the past 30-ish years alone. As kids you probably ran down the street to your friend’s house and were pretty safe.

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It was a much more interconnected world, where neighbors actually spoke to one another and watched each others’ kids. It isn’t like that anymore, people are so focused on what they are doing they don’t have time to watch out for anyone else.

But with a cell phone your child can call 911 from anywhere, making them a bit more safe in the world.

Where Is My Child?- A major difference between cell phones and smartphones is the ability to track with GPS.

Kidtrack offers this feature, and there are other programs that once installed as apps will allow you to see approximately where your child is in the world based on their phone’s GPS. Are they driving around with friends, going to parties they shouldn’t be at? -Now you can find out.

Digital Footprints- A smartphone allows you as a parent to see more of what your child is doing, who they are talking to, and what they are saying.

While for some that might be a privacy issue, for others it is imperative to understand teenage depression, bad behavior, etc. The KidTrack Mobile program even allows you to target certain words they mention in text conversation.

School Scheduling/ Homework Lists- Most schools provide students with planners that help them keep track of assignments, but nothing like a smartphone. With a smartphone they can take typed and recorded notes, keep track of assignments and schedules, and plan their calendars.

As parents we can either give our children smartphones and teach them how to use them responsibly, or we can continue arguing with them until they can afford to buy them. But, at some point our kids and teens will have smartphones and thankfully there are many benefits that make them a worthy investment.

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The #1 Secret to Not Violating Your Child’s Digital Privacy

Some parents think they have every right to see what their children are doing on their phones, tablets and computers. Other parents are worried about violating a trust with their child.

This is a common problem because as teenagers get older and more mature, parents need to start trusting them to make their own decisions. On the other hand, there are no clear cut answers that give the right age to completely let go of monitoring their lives. At age 18 they are legally allowed to make their own decisions, so before that, when does a parent begin allowing them to test their freedoms?

As the internet and media fill our heads with horror stories of teens and young adults commiting suicide, many parents want to land on the side of caution and monitor everything their child does. This behavior causes more complications at home, more arguments, fights, and a lack of trust that pulls teens away from their parents even more. There doesn’t seem to be any sure-fire way to be sure a parent is doing the right thing, so what should they do?

Regardless of which parent you are in situations above, there’s one way to make the whole privacy issue much easier: Tell Them You are Watching!

The first thing to do when you give your child the opportunity to start using digital websites and devices, is to tell them you are watching what they do. You’ll see the websites they visit, the information they share, etc.

The same goes for their smartphones and tablets. With the parent monitoring programs out there, it’s easy for you to see what your child is doing on their cell phone. You can track how far they’ve gone, when they’ve left certain geographic areas, and when they’ve used certain words in texts.

If your child is still young and you feel the need to make sure they stay safe, you should use these features. And, if you are worried about violating their privacy, you can tell them right from the beginning that you’ll be watching, and exactly what you’ll be able to see.

Why Does This Work?
Kids act different when they know they are being watched. When you tell them you’ll see their conversations, pictures, and whereabouts, they know they have to behave. Sure, you could give them the device and let them think they aren’t being watched, and then confront them about every topic you oversee, but will that lead to issues – most likely.

Instead when you tell them, they’ll understand the guidelines you’ve put in place for your family about social media, texting, devices, and privacy, and that whatever new toy (device) they have, they’ll still have to abide by those rules.

How To Handle Issues?
Inevitably, if you are monitoring your teen’s behavior, there will come a time you want to question what they or someone else has said or done. There isn’t a perfect way to handle this, but we can offer some advice. Start by considering their safety, is it really at risk? If it is, obviously proceed with confronting them.

Confrontation isn’t always pretty, but give them the space to explain themselves. If their safety isn’t at risk and it is a matter or someone else’s safety, you’ll also need to intercede. When the issue has more to do with respect, and minor infractions, consider how important it is to bring up.

Maybe you’ll want to bring up small things in groups, or wait and see how problems play out.

In Conclusion
You decide if you are doing the best thing for your child or teen. Monitoring software, advice from blogs and the media are just there to give you suggestions. Decide what is important to your family, talk it out, and follow up with issues as you see fit. You are the parent after all, and even worrying about this shows how much you care.

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