You should never say things about or about someone online that they wouldn`t like to say in the face. It`s also important that they speak up and tell you if they see other people posting or saying things that might hurt another person or are perceived as bullying. Deciding if your Tween is responsible enough to have a cell phone is not always an easy decision. And once you`ve done that, you still need to teach your child some basic rules of owning your phone, as well as the responsibilities associated with a cell phone. Melanie and her husband Chris are raising four children in a media-balanced home — and have managed to replace video games with sports, music, art and good manners, and they`ve also done the impossible: they`ve prevented social media and smartphones from controlling their teens. For more information about recovering your kids and re-connecting your family, see www.FamiliesManagingMedia.com. What do smartphone contracts promise? And what do they deliver? You promise that because you have a signed agreement, your kids would use their smartphones in a balanced way and know how to protect themselves online. But in my experience, contracts offer none of that security and balance. Let`s talk about why.
Start with a simple phone to see how to manage text and time limits. At Families Managing Media, along with many mental health professionals, we propose that basic non-data cell phones be a good choice for teens if you feel like they need to communicate with you during the day. Speaking of sharing, you also want to cover what is appropriate to share on a mobile phone and what is not. This certainly means photos and language used in texts, emails and social networks. But don`t forget simpler things like indicating their address, age, or school, which they attend in apps or online (if you`ve given them full access to the internet). . . .