Kids and Cell Phones

Each month I team up with U.S. Cellular to tell you something about my Samsung Galaxy S5 and my relationship with U. S. Cellular.  This is one of those days….

I have a 4 1/2 year old in childcare.  She’s a non-napper so each day she watches a Disney type movie over nap time so that the house can stay quiet and the nappers can sleep.  I have VHS movies and an old VHS player.  One day the movie needed to be rewound before we could watch it so as the movie rewound I was chatting with the kiddos.  My little 4 1/2 year old said, “Jo, why won’t my mommy let me get my own cell phone?”  She was extra sad.  I said, “You know…I think you’re a little to little for your own cell phone.  Besides, who are you going to call?”  She explained that she didn’t want to call anyone, she wanted to play the games.  I said that I was sorry but I really think she needed to at least be 12 before she got a phone.  There was a LONG delay and other conversation started with another little girl when the 4 1/2 year old said but that’s too long.  I felt just horrible for those parents.  Fighting the want of a child can be so hard.

That whole conversation reminded me that I am SO HAPPY that I don’t have children of my own that are begging for phones.  I’ve definitely been there and have definitely done that with all five of our kids.  That just wasn’t fun.

June is internet safety month so in light of the conversation I had with the little one in my care I found some of the information that I recently read very interesting and thought you might too.  Nearly half (47%) said their child has a cellphone, and the average age that children receive cellphones is 12 years old, according to a recent U.S. Cellular survey.  Another recent study by the PewResearchCenter found that three in four (74 percent) teens ages 12-17 access the Internet on cellphones, tablets, and other mobile devices at least occasionally.

While smartphones and tablets can simplify our lives, sometimes it can be hard for parents to know how much freedom to give their kids.  I know I had trouble with that.  I had even more trouble working agreeing with Hubby on what was appropriate for our children.

In honor of Internet Safety Month, U.S. Cellular is sharing a list of important tips for parents to monitor their children’s online activities and facilitate conversations about the use of mobile devices:

1.  Make an agreement with your children: U.S. Cellular has created a Parent-Child Agreement to help guide families’ conversations about mobile phone usage. The agreement focuses on safety and etiquette, and is customizable based on each family’s specific needs.  I highly recommend using this agreement with your kids.  It’s a great tool to use to start conversations and you need not be only a U.S. Cellular user to access the document.

2.  Use protective apps:  The U.S. Cellular Family Protector app provides safety and security by monitoring your children’s location and mobile usage. This service allows parents to review their child’s calls and texts, block websites, restrict apps, and more. Children can even send their parents an alert with the simple press of a button if they are in trouble or find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.

3.  Discuss online sharing: Make sure your children know to never share personal information online, including their name, age, address, school, sports teams or passwords. Remind them to communicate only with family or friends and not to answer unsolicited requests or texts.

4.  Share photos appropriately:  Discuss appropriate use of sharing photos with friends and alert them to never post photos which could contain information about where they live or be seen as inappropriate.

Remember internet safety is important for us all.  Be careful of what your share and where you share it….


2 thoughts on “Kids and Cell Phones”

  1. My DD was asked repeatedly by a boy for inappropriate photos. When he wouldn’t take no for an answer, she want to her guidance counsellor at school and his parents were called in. She’s 12, and I’m very proud of her for having the courage and supportive friends to take such a step.

  2. Great tips for safety. My granddaughter was 2 1/2 when she repeatedly requested a phone and still does and she’s 7 now. I’m so proud of my daughter for sticking to her guns and not letting her have one. At one point folks would ask if she wanted a baby brother or sister and she was very adamant that she didn’t want either, she just wanted a phone! …. still does but she got the baby brother too…. lol

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