4 Things to Know Before Getting Your Child a Cell Phone
Backpack – check. Lunch box – check. Cell phone – what? You may not believe it, but a cell phone has become just as much of a school necessity as a backpack and number two pencils for many kids. And while the idea of getting your elementary school student or tween a phone may sound like ludicrous, consider this – phones aren't just for fun; parents are getting them for their kids in order to keep in touch with them after school and during "open lunch" periods.
"Schools are issuing technology a lot, and technology is in our kids' lives much younger and much quicker," shares Janell Burley Hofmann, author of iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growing Up. "We have seen that shift just in three years . . . that it is just ever present and it is not really an option to avoid it all together."
But before running out and buying your child a top of the line (or even basic) phone, families must consider what's right for them. Before giving her 13-year-old son a phone, Janell created an 18-point iPhone contract outlining how the phone could be used. The contract went viral almost immediately after she posted it. "I just wanted to have these points in place," Janell says. "Then over the years, as I saw my son really integrate the technology into his life in a healthy way, those points could loosen up while still having the core philosophies behind them."
"I think it is part of the health and wellness conversation right now and we want to have healthy habits with technology right now."
So just what are the key points families should consider before giving their kids phones? Read on to see Janell's advice.