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Do You Have Your Own Rules for Your Children's Phone Usage?

How closely do you monitor your children's use of technology?

Janelle Hoffman, a Cape Cod, Mass., mother of five, presented her 13-year-old son with an iPhone for Christmas, along with a list of rules and regulations for its use. Not the Apple list; the mom's list.

Rule No. 1 is, "It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the greatest?" And No. 2 is, "I will always know the password."

The contract has 18 points of requirements for usage that range from proper phone etiquette to sage advice for the future, such as No. 12: "Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else's private parts. Don't laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea."

KidsAndMedia.org suggests responsible parents be vigilant with their teens, but monitoring may be a bit overkill. "As parents, we are responsible for our children, and, thus, we have a right as well as a duty to guide them in the digital world. At the same time, children have a right to use digital media, and they have a need to learn about safe and responsible use thereof." They suggest a balance be found, and sometimes that just depends on the child and the age of the child.  

Common sense parenting seems more reasonable than installing the monitoring software and while Hoffman's set of rules seems reasonable to many adults, teens, no doubt, see this as a gross intrusion of their privacy and a lack of trust that, many times, just isn't merited. 

Do you have rules for cell phone use at your house? How closely do you monitor your teen's usage? Do you think Ms. Hoffman's rules are reasonable? At what point should teens be allowed the rights of privacy afforded by a cell phone?

Jill January 07, 2013 at 06:11 PM
There is a rule called “one size fit all”( a general principle) for parenting, no matter how many years old your children are. That is --- A child’s motivation to follow parents’ instructions best comes after parents first humble selves. For example, when a child gets emotional or has a wrong behavior, first try to understand what she/he may be experiencing emotional action, in other words, try to understand his/her thoughts behind the wrong behavior , and forgive him/her and his/her heart. Parent’s love, understanding, forgiveness, kind and accepting words are the fuel that he/she seeks. By demonstrating these attributes, parent allows his/her heart to feel secure and be filled with trust, confidence, joy, and an understanding that one must endure through trials. By showing love, understanding, and forgiveness, the child should, in time, be willing to follow parent’s instructions.
Jill January 07, 2013 at 06:12 PM
We are all sinners, and like adults, children’s hearts are also controlled by sin, i.e., rebellion, manipulation, selfishness, etc. A secure heart - one filled with trust, confidence, joy and love - can, in most situations, overcome a rebellious heart filled with manipulative tendencies and selfishness. Once a child's heart is filled with trust, confidence, joy and love, the child will be more receptive to a parent when the parent points out - and explains - the error of the child's behavior. Through a parent's understanding, love, and forgiveness, a child's heart will be transformed and he/she will better understand that the instructions a parent provides are meant to teach him/her, lead him/her, and help him/her grow and change (improve) his/her behavior. When the child’s heart is willing to follow parent's instructions, he/she also needs parent's guide and help.
Jill January 07, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Error correction: One size fits all

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