“Dad, Mom, Can I have a mobile please?”...This simple, innocent question from your dear one is enough to take your sleep away from you for weeks. The consequences of mobile phone misuses will pop up in our mind one after another. The pleading of your child is also there in the other side. Who will win in the tug of war? No doubt, your child. How strongly we may try to reject the request, it will be bothering us in different forms- pleading, requesting, demanding, sometimes even threatening. At last we will agree to them.
It is true that there is a vast world of cyber crimes out there. But if handled maturely and sensibly, mobile phone will be the best companion your child can have. Here are some tips. Go through them and learn how you can highlight the positives of mobile phones to your child. Once they understood this, they will not run behind the different scope of mobile phone.
This is the first thing you should take in to consideration before deciding to buy a mobile phone for your child. There are no common age bars for the children to have a mobile phone. Think about your child's level of responsibility and maturity. Analyse how far she/ he is handling and managing things in their small life? It is always better not to buy a cell phone for children below 10. if you are sure that your child is able to take care of the mobile phone in a matured manner, then you may buy one. For this, you should observe your child and get to know him/her.
If your child has demanded for a mobile phone,, think whether your child really needs one. Discuss with the child himself. Sometimes, he will be asking this just because one of his friends might have brought one. If your child travels to and fro the school in school bus, and you have a land phone at home, there is no need of a mobile phone for your child for the time being.
If your child has to go along with his friends after school for some sports, games or something, he might need a mobile phone to inform you if there is any change of plan or to coordinate the team members. Check well and analyse well the need for the mobile phone. Decide to buy one, only if you are satisfied and convinced of the necessity.
3. Basic Phone:
Once you have decided to buy a phone for your child, you should take care of some things. If your child is below 18, there is no need to buy an expensive smartphone. If there is any used phone of yours or your spouse's, which is kept aside just because you bought a brand new one, you can definitely give that to your child, promising him/her that, if he/she uses it pretty well and if you are impressed, you will get them a brand new one.
If you insist that you should buy a new one, buy a phone with basic features like call, sms and radio. Do not buy a phone with too much features.
4. No Internet:
Do not give the children mobile phones with internet connection. If they insist that they need it for their studies, buy them a computer and place it in the common room ask them to use it. There is no way a child below 18 years need an internet connected phone.
5. No Camera:
Your young child's first mobile phone does not require a camera. You can give him/ her your digital camera in times of tour, tournaments or any B'Day functions of his friends.
6. No Bluetooth:
Buy a phone with no bluetooth connectivity. That might lead the child to knowingly or unknowingly share the files. Your child might be innocent, but others can exploit him/her by sending vulgar videos or pictures and can blackmail them. Being a kid, he will be afraid to tell you and this can lead to more harms.
7. No Memory Card:
Say a clear “no” to those phones which support memory cards. For the basic need of your child, the phone memory itself will be enough.
8. No Dual SIM:
Do not buy a phone with Dual SIM facility. Your child is still young to have two separate worlds.
9. Not to School:
Remember that Mobile phones are banned in schools of India. Do not let them carry the mobile phones in to schools. If it is so necessary, make arrangement with the authorities that your child will hand the phone to the teacher on his arrival at the school, and will collect it after school hours. Make sure that your child does not take his phone to his classroom.
Place time restriction for the use of mobile phones. Let the child use the phone for half an hour or one hour. Then ask him to keep it away or to give it to you. Do not allow the device to take the focus of your child from studies. Never ever allow them to take the phone to bed, as long as you pay the bill. it can be harmful for your child's health and also it can mislead him. The radiation from the mobile phones will harm the health of the child. It is a well known fact that “texting” will turn “sexting” at night. Not that it is a sure thing to happen, but, better prevent it.
11. Post paid/Pre-paid:
If you are gonna buy a post paid connection, make it clear to the child that a detailed bill be coming at the end of each month with the detailed lists of all the calls and histories. This might prevent the child from using the phone more frequently. He will be afraid to avail any kinds of alerts as you will come to know about that.
If you are going for a pre paid connection, make it clear to your child that you will do a top up of a fixed amount each month, and no extra pocket money will be given for phone recharging.
12. Speak with other Parents:
Before buying a mobile phone for your child, discuss with other parents. Make sure they all agree. Your child must not be a headache for other parents, when their children also demand for cell phones, modelling your kid.
13. Have an open discussion with your kid on the subject:
Discuss openly with your child about the positives and negatives of Mobile phones. Observe his point of view on the subject. Discuss about what all to do if the kid fell in to some cyber traps. Keep him aware about the traps out there. Convince him that you will be there easily approachable if there happens something, which the kid finds difficult to manage. Encourage him to talk frank with you.
14. Review each months bill with them:
If you are having a post paid connection, review the bill with your kid. Not in a harsh way. Appreciate him for keeping the bill under the boundaries. Offer some solutions if some features are over used.
15. Draw boundaries and implement them:
You should form some ground rules on using the mobile phone. For example, no phone during study time, no phone on bed, no phone while chatting with family etc. If the kid neglect it, implement the punishment without fail. Take the phone away for one week, or something like that.
• Do not eavesdrop your kid's calls.
• Do not shout at him for any matters. That will make him angrier. Discuss openly the issues.
• If you deny something, make sure the kid understands why you deny.
• While implementing the punishments like taking the phone away, make sure the child feels that he should have obeyed the rules.
• Do not be a spy parent. Be a friend to the child. Do not read his text messages unnecessarily. Monitoring is far away from scrutinizing.
In this way you can monitor your child's mobile phone usage and also can give them enough space.
Most important of all, be a good role model for your children. Let them learn from you how to handle and manage a mobile phone.
Make your kid happy and safe.
Best of Luck!
Planning to give a mobile phone to your kid? This is a must read!
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