We hope you’ve had a chance to check out our Online Parenting Class video on teens and cell phones!
As parents, I’m sure you have a love-hate relationship with cell phones. They provide access to your children and allow you to monitor your teen’s location, but also pull your children away from you and expose your kids to things they otherwise would be protected from. But did you know cell phones can also be used as a parenting tool?
Once you’ve surrendered to the reality that your child is mature enough to have a cell phone, it’s important to equip them with how to handle cell phone use maturely. Rather than talking to your teen about a long list of rules, talk with them about the benefits and the pitfalls of having a cell phone.
For example, talk with your teen how cell phone use impacts older generations. What does your teen think grandparents must think about kids who are always texting on their phone, and never talking with people face to face? How do they think their own grandparents view cell phones? How should teens—and their parents—handle cell phone use at family dinners to respect this generation?
Or, ask your teen how much their friends are on their phones and how they think this impacts friendships. Steer the conversation carefully to a point where you can ask, “If that’s how most kids are with their phones, how are you going to be different?” See how your teen answers. If their answers aren’t demonstrating they are at a maturity level to handle the responsibility of a cell phone, maybe it’s necessary to put some restrictions on cell phone use and revisit this same conversation in six months. Give your teen opportunities to prove they are responsible with their cell phone and able to self-monitor the time using them.
God designed human beings to be relational, and this is the heart of why your teen is so compelled to connect with people over their phones. This week, don’t forget it’s important to help our children learn this truth; cell phones are wonderful tools, but can never replace live relationships!
We’ll see you again in next month’s Online Parenting Class. As you press on in parenting in a cell-phone-focused-world, please remember we are here to support and pray for you! We care about your family, and about your teen.