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Monitoring Kids Cell Phone Use

The popularity of cell phones has led kids of all ages to pester their parents to give them a cell phone. But, kids and cell phones aren't always a good mix.

Before buying a cell phone for your child, evaluate whether she really needs it and establish how she will use it. There are advantages to allowing kids to have a cellphone, and careful planning can help avoid any problems.

Before buying a cell phone for kids, parents must set limits and rules

Given the opportunity, teens and tweens are likely to remain permanently connected to their phones. Set up some basic guidelines for cell phone use before you give her one.

  • The primary purpose of a cell phone is to use it only in an emergency or to inform parents about any change in plans or when something important crops up.
  • Make sure that your child stores only the numbers of her close friends and neighbors, including those of their family members stored in their phone.
  • Let your child know that you will be keeping track of her phone calls. Let her know that bullies and predators that can use their phone to lure them into danger.
  • Teach your child that she must answer her phone each and every time you call.
  • Make sure that your child knows who to call in case of an emergency. For instance, using speed dial is a good way to quickly reach you, your spouse, or even the police.

Use Technology to Better Control Cell Phone Use

To avoid disputes over how much talk time is appropriate, what web limits will be in place, and whether texting is ok, talk to your child about how to use technology appropriately.

  • Many cell phone services offer software that enables parents to place restrictions regarding talk time, call blocking, and text messaging.
  • Website filters are also available which will restrict access to inappropriate content. Manufacturers are providing better features to help concerned parents address the security issues.
  • Parents may be able to lock some services and find about the location of their children by opting for a GPS feature.

Whether or not your child needs or is ready for a cell phone can be decided only by you. Make sure that your child can handle the responsibility before getting her a cell phone.