At some point in your child's life, you will likely get them a cell phone. It may be sooner than you think, but it will happen. Before you hand over this amazing piece of equipment, it's time to set some ground rules. It's a great idea to make sure these expectations are put in place before they are handed the keys to the kingdom. When you try to place them after the fact, be prepared for a whole lot of eye rolling and accusations of ruining their lives. If you do it before hand, they are usually just so excited to be getting the device, they will probably agree to anything.
- If you don't recognize the number, don't answer the phone. Let them know about telemarketers, spam, and phishing calls. Most of the time, if a contact doesn't come up on the phone, you don't want to talk to them anyway.
- ALWAYS answer the phone when it's Mom or Dad. NON-NEGOTIABLE! Let them know that you won't typically call. You especially won't call when you know they won't be able to answer, like during sports practices, but when you do call, it's usually important, so pick it up.
- Never give your phone number to a stranger, especially online.
- When texting, make sure you never say something inappropriate, or send something inappropriate. Let them know that anything they send can be made public. Don't say or send anything they wouldn't feel comfortable if the whole school saw it.
- No texting during school hours or during bedtime hours.
- Texts will be read at parent's discretion. Even if they have been deleted from the device (let them know about the parental control application you installed to allow this)
- Never take someone's picture without their consent.
- Never take a picture of yourself you wouldn't feel comfortable if the entire world saw the photo. Let them know that even if they never send the photos to anyone, someone could still gain access to those photos and use them against you.
- Photos will be automatically uploaded for parents to view at their discretion.
- Any apps installed will require permission from you before they can be used (this can be accomplished with several different kinds of monitoring applications).
- Any apps that are not age appropriate will be forbidden.
- There will be limitations on when certain apps can be used.
- Apps later deemed inappropriate will be deleted
- App use will be monitored
- In-app purchases will be disabled.
- Social media accounts will granted when the child has reached the appropriate age for the particular service (usually at age 13).
- Social media accounts will be monitored by a parent on a regular basis.
- Messaging apps will also be monitored by a parent (similar to the text messages)
- Never post on social media anything you wouldn't want the world to see, even if you think it's private.
- If they break the device, they are responsible for replacing it
- Always use a case and a screen protector