Cell phone rules for 13-14-year-old teens and younger kids

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Kidslox team



Does your son or daughter have a hard time putting their cell phone aside? The device is always out there even if the child doesn’t use it. It seems to be an addiction. Probably it’s high time to establish cell phone rules for your 14-year-old teen. So how to teach your child to be responsible? How to keep them safe online? What boundaries should be introduced to ensure healthy screen time? Let’s figure that out.


Psychological aspects

  • At the age of 13-14 teen’s cognitive skills develop so that young people are able to comprehend abstract relationship and double meaning. Early teens can now deliberate, analyze, and oppose moral issues though they can be perceptive to naive opinions.
  • As for their emotional and social development, children tend to shrink into themselves since they are conscious of their feelings.
  • Another aspect is the relations with family and friends. Teens become more worried about their peers and how they perceive them, while they slip away from family. Some young people have a risk of anti-social behavior, still, kids elaborate their own ideas concerning social issues and are eager to discuss them.
  • When it comes to the digital savviness, early teenagers usually pick up avatars and usernames that reflect their identity. On the other hand, online anonymity might make kids brave and unfair. 14-year-olds know right from wrong though they might have difficulties applying that behavior to Internet environment (for instance when being exposed to adult content).
  • Instant messages and texting become an essential form of communication at this period. Parents are not always aware of their child’s conversations that’s why it’s necessary to discuss this matter. Limits should also be applied for video chats and pictures on social media. The balance between social and real life should be highlighted if there are signs of addictive behavior. Further, we’ll offer cell phone rules appropriate for 13-14-year-old teens.


Limits and Boundaries

Should your adolescent use the cell phone all the time? Probably not. It is a good idea to clear up your expectations before you provide your teen with a device. It is known that gadgets might cause dependence which is why setting limits will definitely help to avoid addiction and cell phone overuse.

  • If your family billing plan has a set number of minutes then it makes sense to limit the amount of time a child might talk on the phone.
  • There are certain types of software that can help you with limiting the time your child spends on the smartphone. Kidslox is a top parental control app letting you manage child’s screen time remotely from any mobile device or PC. You as a parent determine the daily limit of allowed screen time. Discover more on the website.
  • It was earlier discussed that cell phone rules for 13-14 year-olds imply at most 2 hours a day. Now, it’s not so important the amount of screen time as its quality. Don’t hesitate to talk over the reasons why you put limitations in place. At this age, teens are expected to realize how screen time affects them and the background behind the limitations.


Time and Place

  • You can start with no phone during dinner time to avoid texting, taking calls, and monitoring social media while having meals. Be sure to explain there is no need to keep the device 24/7, it should be away for some periods.
  • Teenagers tend to spend much time on their phones before sleep. Think of a place in the house where your teen can charge and store the cell phone at night. Your child would take it back as they come to have breakfast.
  • Find out school cell phone rules and make sure your schooler obeys them. The school policy may allow having phones around but students obviously may not use them during the lesson.
  • Most parents allow texting only when the homework and house chores are done. This policy helps to avoid distraction and concentrate on studies.
  • Cell phone etiquette is another point to hold a discussion of. Highlight the importance of keeping the phone in silent mode when in public places like church, transport, restaurant, and movies.


Content and Safety

  • According to statistics, about ⅔ of American parents check the contents of their kid’s cell phone, including contacts, calls, messages, and pictures. So discuss your power to examine the cell phone at any point without any rebellion on the part of the teen. Encourage cooperation and explain why you’re doing that.
  • Focus on inadmissible behavior on the Internet, like hateful comments, bad language, and rumors. Teach not to get involved in conversations that are offensive and harmful to others.
  • It’s of high importance to cover the point concerning online dangers like cyberbullying and grooming. Ask to alert you if a child receives any suspicious message or a stranger attempts to get in touch.
  • To ensure online safety, suggest changing the password on websites (not the device itself), keep back from downloading the suspicious software and use privacy settings where possible.
  • Encourage your child to use screen time creatively by shooting smart clips or constructing animation.


Cell phone rules for 13-14-year-old children: Implications

It would be a good idea to create a cell phone contract for your kid to sign it. The rules are usually recorded and displayed in a prominent place as a reminder. Make your child know about implications of disregard of rules (for example device confiscation). And remember that it is you who set an example so be a good role model for your teen and mind your own cell phone habits.

Cell phones in kids’ lives

Very much like teens the younger kids (even the youngest ones) have smartphones. And they learn to use them at an early age. Some parents are less aware of their cell phone functions than kids under 10. We, parents, are usually happy to know that we can contact our kids any time we need. And we tend not to put a large focus on possible problems like screen time issues, phone addiction and even mental health issues.

And yes, smartphones, computers and tablets can actually improve our lives and the lives of our kids. At least in some respects. There’s no getting away from the fact that they can also make our life worse though. And our kids need to understand the truth about the benefits and problems smartphones can produce. It would be great if they learned it from their parents. No matter how technologically advanced our kids might be we’re still responsible to provide some guidance for them.


Cell phone rules for kids under 10

So here are some basic cell phone rules for kids under 10 but they can be used for older kids as well. We should teach our kids these simple principles to encourage good technology habits:

  1. Answering parent’s calls immediately or as soon as reasonably possible is a widely used rule and it makes a lot of sense. The primary purpose of smartphone is still for communication after all!
  2. Kids must know their parent’s number (and preferably another trustworthy person’s too) as well as the main emergency numbers (i.e. 911 in the USA). Surprisingly, while many kids know how to make a phone call, not so many know who to call in the case of emergency. You have to remember that some phone models may have a “panic button” as well as some parental control apps may support this option.
  3. They must learn to keep their number private and not give it to strangers (this should become part of a wider understanding of social safety and the importance of protecting all of their personal data).
  4. Children shod as soon as possible alert their parents if they get suspicious call or text
  5. There should be some phone-free time each day. This might include time during the family meal, time in school and when they’re doing homework. The phone should be turned off after 9 p.m. – no texts or calls or watching video in internet. A parental control app installed on the kid’s phone can be a big support for following up on this rule.
  6. They should not text while walking or make a call while crossing the street – it can be dangerous. It’s easy for pedestrians to become “smartphone zombies” and provoke traffic incidents, putting themselves and others at risk.
  7. Kids should not make in-app purchases without preliminary permission from their parents.
  8. Kids should be aware of the basics of phone call etiquette and conduct themselves accordingly. This includes
  9. being polite during a phone conversation,
  10. not sending mean messages to others (via text or in online chat),
  11. not calling every 15 seconds if another person is busy and can’t take a call etc. Some parents use a form of contract to list these rules.
  12. The phone should not be used for bullying others.
  13. Children should respect school rules regarding smart phones and the smart phone regulations in public places like cinema or café.
  14. There should be limit for the number of text messages per each day
  15. In case when the phone is broken through the fault of a child, he has to be ready cover at least some part of the repairmen cost (or purchase the new one) from his own money.
  16. The general thing is that the child must understand – cell phone is a privilege not a right and can be taken away any time if he doesn’t follow the rules above.

This list is far from complete. Some of the rules are needed for younger kids but potentially not for older ones. It will be wise to specify that parents also take some responsibilities like promising to answer child’s call as soon as possible, being a good example of dealing with the screen time issues and etc.

Some form of parent/child phone contract can be an excellent and easy way of teaching your child these rules. At least, it can be a good starting point.

Maybe you even disagree with some of its points completely. What would you add to it? What would you change? Let us know in the comments section.