Are you considering purchasing or handing down a phone for your tween/teen for the first time? Perhaps this whole pandemic business has pushed your timeline forward a bit considering the inevitable wave of distance learning and the hurdles needed to successfully enter in to our new normal?
If you’re wondering how to navigate these uncertain waters, we have advice that we think you’ll love to hear!
Before the pandemic (and now during) we at Virginia Family Therapy have seen a strong need for parents to have a basic set of tools in their toolbox when it comes to introducing the responsibility of a new phone to our kids. What we DO know is that we don’t want our kids to turn into phone zombies. On the flip side, it would be nice if we could all find an easy way to set expectations moving forward so that both kid(s) and parent(s) are on the same page when it comes to next steps in phone health.
For now, let’s just cover some helpful basics:
Deciding to get a phone for your tween/teen can start off as a discussion. You and your child should sit down and discuss expectations at the outset.
Here are some examples:
– The purpose for the phone (homework, keeping track of your child through check-in’s, etc.)
– Schedule of expected times that the phone can be used, where it is stored, and when not in use it (localized charging stations, a bowl in the kitchen, limiting hours of use, and more)
– What to do when the “rules of engagement” have been disrupted or breached (limits on phone use, removing social media apps and games)
– Responsible use of the phone. Like a pet, the phone needs to be cleaned, charged each night, treated with care and respect.
– Where and when will the phone be used? Can it go into a bedroom?
We can’t expect our kids to not be giddy upon receiving their new phones. What we can expect is a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship once we lay down the expectations. Kids look for a multitude of boundaries when it comes to a fun little piece of technology that not only links them to the great big internet world, but can also link to some distracting realities, like social media.
Each parent knows their kid(s), their limits, their weaknesses and strengths. We encourage you to try out our worksheet and let us know how your own journey is going. Questions? Reach out today and we will do our best to answer them and get you off on the right foot of your successful journey as a parent with a first-time phone user. You’ve got this!