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Cell Phone Use Tips for Elementary-School Kids

Statistics indicate that nearly half of all kids in the U.S. have a cell phone. This may be because kids, even elementary school-aged kids, want to be on the cutting edge of technology. It may be because having a cell phone is a status symbol. And it may be because, in an effort to keep kids safe, parents are providing their kids cell phones so that they can reach them anytime, anywhere. Whatever the reason, there are a few things to consider before allowing your child to have a cell phone.

Good Habits for Cell Phone Safety

Kids and parents can connect faster and easier when kids are provided a cell phone. But providing an elementary-aged child with expensive technology comes at a price. Young children may lose, drop, or even let their friends borrow a cell phone. To avoid hassles and expensive replacements, keep these tips in mind when it comes to kids and cell phones:

  • Set up a behavior chart, or chore chart system, that promotes cell phone use as a reward instead of a "right." Even if you want your child to have a cell phone for safety reasons, you can still leverage some good behavior out of it!
  • Opt for a cell phone that either limits your child's options, or have some features disabled. Some cell phones will let you program a few select numbers that can be dialed and a few select numbers that are permitted call the phone. Use this handy feature to ensure that the phone is used just as a family communication tool.
  • Speak to your child about the rules of using her cell phone and what type of behavior you expect. Your child needs to be aware of safety issues, such as giving out personal information and passing and receiving photos via text messaging.
  • Monitor your child's usage especially if you don't opt to limit what she can do on her phone.
  • Keep in mind that most schools have rules against cell phone use on campus. You will need to find out the rules of your child's school and make sure she follows them.
  • Consider limiting or removing texting all together.

The Example

As in most areas of parenting, setting a good example is essential. Your kids are watching! Be sure to not use your phone while driving, text while driving, make and receive calls at meal times, and make sure your kids see you taking good care of your phone.