This parenting thing is no joke. If you aren’t yet a parent or if your kids are still little let me tell you one thing I know about parenting. It doesn’t get easier it just gets different. What I mean is that the hard stuff about infants, toddlers preschoolers goes away but parenting doesn’t suddenly become easy. Instead it just becomes new and different challenges.
My daughter is almost ten so we are right on the brink of her being a tween and then before I know it she’ll be an actual teenager. I hope that she remains smart and continues to make smart decisions as she grows up but I also know that it is my job as her mom to set boundaries and rules that will make her safe and help her to make those good choices. This year we are thinking about getting a cell phone for our tween and also what rules for social media. I thought it might be helpful to share our plan and why we made the decisions we’ve made.
making the decision about getting a cell phone for our tween
Unfortunately there is no one answer fits all when it comes to a lot of these decisions with older kids. When our daughter was little there were a lot more age guidelines to making choices for her. What age she should be to drink milk, turn her car seat around, start crawling etc. As they get older though it becomes more about your individual child and what they are ready or not ready for.
Our daughter will be ten in a few months and we are going to be letting her get a cell phone. I know that it seems young and I agree it is young but after much thought and discussion we think it is the right choice for our child.
We think this because she is a very busy kid who goes a lot of places and it is frustrating when shes away from home and we don’t have a direct way to contact her. Sometimes we are able to get a hold of her by calling her friends parents or the friends cell phone but it’s not always easy to contact her and then I’m relying on her friend or their parents to have their phone on them and turned on.
Our rules for our children with their phones
There will be quite a few rules in place when she does get that phone though. Not following the rules will result in her not having a phone and will be a sign to us that she’s not ready for one.
- There will be no internet set up on her phone. I don’t think that at 10 you should be on social media and have unsupervised use of the internet so it wont be on her phone.
- It will be charged in the common living space. She doesn’t need access to her phone overnight at this age. I don’t want her talking on the phone or texting all night long. This will change as she gets older.
- I get to see everything on the phone. Who she’s calling and for how long, who the numbers belong to, who she’s texting and what the texts say. I’m not real nosy or suspicious by nature so I wont be reading or checking constantly but I need to have access to check periodically.
- I expect her to answer her phone or messages when she is out because that is the reason for her having a phone. If she can’t then she doesn’t need a phone.
For a great printable contract to have your tween sign I found this article. I will be doing something like this with my daughter to make sure she really understands the rules of having a phone.
My rules are mainly to keep her safe and to make sure that things like bullying and such aren’t taking place. Making the decision about getting a cell phone for our tween is not one I take lightly. I’m aware of the risks and also that not all kids are in the situation to get one at ten.
So don’t think I’m saying all ten year olds should. It depends on your family and what feels right for you. Also on your child and their maturity. I know my daughter and everything she does tells me that she can handle a phone soon. She makes smart decisions. She is a good listener and follows rules.
This will also be a trial situation for awhile and if she isn’t ready I don’t have a problem taking the phone back. We are only planning on getting her a pretty basic phone. There is no need for more when it’s not for internet use and only for communicating.
As the first real generation of parents with cell phones this is going to be a trial and error situation. When I was her age there weren’t really cell phones at least they weren’t common. When I was in high school I got one and there were rules but I was also older and more mature.
As the mom of one of the older kids in my circle of family and friends there aren’t many people I can go to for advice for these topics. So its up to me and her dad to make choices as we feel is best for our daughter at this age. It’s a hard decision because we want to make the right choice. I think that we have really thought it through and now it will just be doing it and seeing how it goes.
When are teens or tweens ready for internet with their phones?
This is the next big thing I am beginning to seriously think about in terms of parenting. We can’t just pretend like social media and the internet don’t exist. They do and our kids will want to be on them The question is when is she ready and what rules do I need to have in place to keep her safe from all the dangers that are out there? It will be a couple more years but it’s important for me to think about. Especially as she’s starting to use the internet more for school and things so I need to keep her safe when shes on it.