Monday, November 16, 2015

Your Teen's First Cell: Tips and Rules

Teens and cell phones. Today, it’s virtually impossible for one to exist without the other. It’s a symbiotic relationship spurred on by marketing, advertising and peer pressure— it's both passive and non-passive aggressive. For example: Susie has the new iPhone 6S and your kid wants it too. Then Alex gets it—followed by Jason. Peter got the new HTC OneM8s and Steven got the Galaxy S6. But what does you child have? Nothing. And he is letting you know about it. Every. Single. Day.

So, you and your spouse finally agree to give him one—but which one? Like many things, purchasing a smartphone can be a stressful experience. But not, like, real stress. Yours is a “first-world problem”.

“Should I get my young teen a cell phone? What type of smartphone should I get my teenager? Should I monitor that cell phone?”

You’re never going to hear some war-ravaged Nigerian asking that question as they’re being chased out of their burning homes by some AK-47-toting warlord and his machete-wielding hordes. No. Lucky for you your biggest challenge is trying to decide if your teen deserves a newer and better version of the iPhone than the one you’re currently using.

Choosing a phone may also be decided by your budget or your data plan. Many parents opt for a phone that will work along with their cell-phone provider and often opt for the Family Plan. But if you’re considered to be unhip or cheap (which most parents are by their teen children), you may just get them the phone they insist on. After all, who can stand the sound of those poor tortured teens.

So now you’ve done it. You’ve given them what they want. Maybe they deserve it. Maybe they are truly the responsible type. But maybe you should lay a few ground rules … just in case. You are probably going to ask the next question "how to spy on cell phone without installing software that can be harmful to this brand new cell phone?" Below are a few rules to discuss with your teenager to make sure that they’re using their smartphone responsibly:

  • Be aware of the hidden costs. Ringtones, texts and apps aren’t covered by the data plan and all add up. Tell them that any incurred costs will come out of their pocket.
  • No phone after bedtime. Have them leave their devices in a public area of the house overnight so that they don’t text or surf or whatever until 3 a.m.
  • Obey the school rules. Be adamant about them leaving their cells in their backpacks or jackets during class. In fact, tell them to turn it off during school hours.
  • Don’t do anything mean/wrong/bad with the device. With great power comes great responsibility. Having a phone is a privilege. Don’t write or forward a mean or sexually suggestive email, tweet, post, pic or text—and don’t join in on any that exist. Don’t take a selfie that is suggestive in any way—and don’t take one of anybody else. These things get out. They ruin reputations and land the teen—as well as the parents—in hot water.
  • No texting and driving! That also goes for talking, surfing and watching. Eyes on the road all the time.
  • Don’t respond to unknown numbers. Scammers, pervs, stalkers and worse are out there using tech to prey on the weak or naïve. Tell your kids to be smart and patient. Only answer the communications of friends and loved ones.
  • Turn it off once in a while. Doctors recommend that kids have only 2 hours of entertainment screen time at day. Have your kids monitor themselves and ask if they think perhaps they’re spending too much time on their devices and in front of the TV.

If you want to make sure that your teen is obeying you, you can always use a worry free spy on cell phone software. But free apps don’t always work. So, “how do I spy on a cell phone”? you ask.  Install a trusted mobile monitoring app like Auto Forward and start spy on cell phone text messages within minutes!

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