As your child grows older, you have to make more decisions concerning their upbringing and challenges they face. One of such a challenge is the cell phone. Nowadays practically every kid wants to own a smartphone. And you’ve probably heard from your tween how he or she needs a cell phone to talk and text with their friends. But parents should be aware of all the hidden pitfalls these powerful devices might have. Cell phones are designed to improve our life yet they also can cause serious problems if used uncontrolled. So how to find the right balance and guide your child in the world of modern technologies? We’ll reveal the cell phone rules appropriate for 11-12-year-old kids.
What should you consider beforehand?
Before you actually buy a new gadget for your child, you should take several points into account:
Price. Be ready to spend a considerable sum of money (up to $200) on a device that can be broken or lost. Think if your kid is responsible enough to have such a valuable thing at the disposal.
Mobile communication expenses. Children usually don’t understand that runaway data costs money. Don’t be surprised if your credit card will be charged for purchasing games, to say nothing of bills for conversations, texting, and mobile data.
Сrossing the line. You might not even have a clue that your child can view or send inappropriate or adult content. This may ruin child’s mental health. Have a conversation about what can be done on the phone and what is forbidden.
Offensive content. There is a range of online dangers out there that carry a potential threat. Among them are social media, chats, forums where kids might get hurt. Do your best to protect them from online dangers.
Screen time addiction. A child with a phone in hand at the dinner table or in bed is a typical situation for many families nowadays. If your child gets hooked on the screen, it won’t be easy to break the habit. In severe cases, even a special therapy might be required.
Cell phone rules for 11-12-year olds: essential milestones
If you manage expectations for your child’s behavior, they’ll do their best to meet those expectations. If you don’t set any expectations, wait for their behavior to get worse. That is why parents should establish specific and clear guidelines for acceptable phone usage and consequences if the rules aren’t followed. Further, you’ll find recommendations regarding what type of content should be considered, when the kid should and shouldn’t use the phone and how your child should utilize the device to benefit from it.
Surfing the web. Of course, it’s up to you to decide whether you want your kid to be exposed to the World Wide Web or not. Though giving internet access to a middle-schooler is not the best idea. There are lots of temptations for this age group out there many of which can be dangerous. You can block access to the browser so that your child won’t be able to If you do allow internet and worried about your child’s safety, you can benefit from special apps to filter web content
Healthy screen time. Promote utilizing screen time actively instead of just passive involvement. For example, encourage your child trying animation or editing video clips. This, however, should not interfere with completing homework or helping with house chores.
Downloads. Establish rules for downloading software. Use age rating for apps in the Store to find if they’re appropriate for your kid. Or ask your child to talk to you before getting something from the Web.
Sexting. It’s not rare among pre-teens to send nude pictures. Discuss that inappropriate photos can spread and ruin their reputations so they shouldn’t send them to anyone. If a child receives a sexy photo, he or she should delete it immediately, block the number to enable receiving such messages in future and talk with parents about that.
No cell phones at dinner time. Richard Freed in his book “Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age” claims that family meal is something more than just food. It’s time to share conversation, exchange experience, and pay attention to each other. So let all the family members put their devices aside to avoid distraction and benefit from sharing the meal (and happy moments) together.
Charge your phone outside the bedroom. A good idea is to charge all phones you have in your household in one place, let it be a living room or a kitchen. Also, agree that this should be done in the evening so that the child isn’t sleeping with his/her phone.
Cell phone school policy. If you want to be able to call your child when he/she is at school, get acquainted with the school policy first. Of course, every school has its own rules for cell phone usage, yet most permit students to bring phones with them and keep them off during classes. Make certain your child isn’t using the cell phone for unallowed purposes like cheating or videotaping teachers.
Screen-free space. In case your child has a hard time doing homework, consider forbidding the phone after school until say 8 pm. Let this time be devoted exclusively to learning, family, and playing outside.
Have conversations. It is you who are responsible for your child’s upbringing. So keep a dialogue discussing what is right and what is wrong in terms of the technology. Explain the dangers of sexting, predators, and malware apps. Listen to your child, ask questions, and make sure he or she is aware of misuse of the cell phone.
Check the phone. Agree with your pre-teen that you know device password and you’re able to check the phone any time without warning. Once in a while looking through the apps used as well as calls and messages. If you come across any mean text or indecent picture, talk about that. Teach your child to be responsible and handle the challenges.
Set limits of the general screen time. Among the rules for 11-12 year-olds we cannot but mention time limitations. American Academy of Pediatrics has no specific time limitations of screen time for kids older 6. But since the negative impact of electronic screens has widely been discussed, a two-hour limit would be best for pre-teens. Explain why you’re placing these boundaries and find healthy alternatives to replace flashy gadgets.
Use parental controls software. Today parents can benefit from various technological solutions to keep tabs on the child’s device usage. Kidslox parental control solution is not intended to invade child’s privacy. Instead, it is designed to apply limits for screen time as well as schedule phone usage and block apps remotely.
Bear in mind, that your task as a parent is not necessarily to teach your child how to embrace technologies, but to teach them critical thinking and responsibility. It’s all about delivering values concerning phone usage to your kid and to train them facing challenges and making smart decisions in future.