More and more children are getting a cell phone or smartphone to begin communicating with the world around them. Parents have always been cautious about their teenagers having cell phones, but smartphones pose even additional concerns. Nearly 25% of kids ages 12-17 years old own or have access to their own smartphone. Approximately 1/3 of teenagers ages 14-17 are now using smartphones.
Teenagers Should be Ready to Own a Smartphone
Most parents are happy to give their kids a phone for emergency purposes. Emergency situations are not the only situations that teenagers encounter on a daily basis. In fact, emergency situations are cause for the least amount of use on a teenager’s smartphone. Parents need to determine, if their teenager is ready to accept the responsibilities and ground rules associated with using a smartphone.
A Smartphone Can Teach Responsibility
If parents lay down ground rules for smartphone usage, they can act as teaching tools for teenagers. Teens can learn responsibility and how to make good choices, when it comes to behaving safely with their smartphone. Parents also need to include a punishment, if teens break smartphone usage rules. Most importantly, parents need to follow through with both rewards (when the rules are obeyed) and punishments (when the rules are broken).
A smartphone for teenagers is every bit as much a teaching tool for the teenager, as it is for the parents. Parents will have the opportunity to be better parents and relate to their teen in a new way. Teens will have the chance to learn the responsibility of using their smartphones safely.