When our oldest child got her first cell phone in middle school, we made sure there were some rules in place for use, but we didn't put a formal parent-child cell phone contract into place. One month later, we were facing a huge bill for text messages and our tween was always tired from being up late at night. That's when we decided a cell phone contract was necessary.
When handing a cell phone over to your tween, there are several questions to consider. In fact, the answers to the questions can be the basis of your cell phone agreement with your tween.
1. Why do you want your child to have a cell phone?
When our first tween got a cell phone, it was because she had to walk nearly a mile to and from her new middle school and we wanted her to have a way to reach out for help if she needed it. Like mom Angela B, we felt it was an easy way for us to get in touch with her, too.
Our tween wasn't on the same page; she thought the phone was there for her convenience. Laying down ground rules in an agreement — such as she was required to pick up when a parent called — clarified that.
2. Where will her phone be during homework time?
A cell phone is a big distraction, even if your child isn't actively using it. The texts and calls coming in from friends can be too tempting to ignore. In Kathleen K.'s family, her teens are required to hand over their cell phones during homework time. It's a great idea that our family has adopted, too.