This post is part of my partnership with the
US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador Program.
Does your teen have a cell phone?
Make sure you download the Parent-Child Agreement.
We’ve been hearing the “when can I get a cell phone?” question for the past three years. At Christmas, we finally decided our eldest could use one of our old iPhones for games and music.
However, there were some rules we needed to put in place first. The internet is a big wide, fun, scary, sad place and without some perimeters, children can fall victim to dangerous content and people.
Luckily our son hasn’t discovered Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. However, he is playing online games and watching videos on YouTube – yikes. So it was time to have him sign the U.S. Cellular Parent Child Agreement, and start educating him on the dos and don’ts of Internet browsing.
The average age children receive cell phones is 13, according to a recent U.S. Cellular survey. Ironically, safety is cited as the main reason for this decision.
Devices such as an iPhone can help families stay connected, but with that connectivity comes responsibility, and many parents realize they need to guide their kids’ mobile device usage.
Here are some tips that U.S. Cellular has provided to help parents monitor their children’s online activities and facilitate conversations about the use of mobile devices:
Have an agreement with your children. U.S. Cellular has created a Parent-Child Agreement to help guide families’ conversations about mobile phone usage. The agreement focuses on safety and etiquette, and it’s customizable based on each family’s specific needs
Discuss online communications: Beyond texting, increases in the use of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have opened up new communication pathways for teens. U.S. Cellular recommends that families discuss the importance of never posting harmful or hurtful comments on others pages and always being responsible for what is said online.
Set boundaries for online sharing. Make sure your child knows to never share personal information online. That includes their name, age, address, school, and sports teams, as well as any passwords. Also, remind them to communicate only with family or friends and not to answer unsolicited requests or texts.
Post photos appropriately: We all know how eager kids are to capture and share photos, but today’s kids don’t realize that once those images are online, they are in the public domain and can even be modified by others. Talk about guidelines for sharing photos with friends and alert them to never post photos which could contain information about where they live or be seen as inappropriate. It’s also best to not post or share photos or videos of others without their consent.
Use parental controls. The NQ Family Guardian app is available for $4.99 a month on Android devices and provides safety and security by monitoring your children’s location and mobile usage. This service allows parents to review their child’s calls and texts and restrict certain websites and apps. Children can even send their parents an alert with the simple press of a button if they are in trouble or find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. For iOS users, there is a wide range of parental-control options that are automatically available in iOS 9’s Settings app.
With just a few guidelines and communication, you and your children can feel safe to cruise the Internet.
Disclaimer: Through the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some more of My BETTER MOMENTS as a US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade Ambassador. All opinions are my own and an honest view of my story as a US Cellular customer.