By Kelsey Yeager, Resident In Counseling
Technology is such a blessing and somewhat of a curse, especially when it comes to kids and technology. I know I struggle with the balance of screens versus no screens as a mom. Recently Bill Gates reported that none of his three children were allowed to have a cell phone until they were 14 years old and even then they were limited in the amount they were allowed to use it, as well as other technology.
I was talking to my best friend a couple weeks ago about technology and kids. We were talking about the pros and cons of kids/adolescents having access to a phone and at what age was appropriate to get their “own” phone. She mentioned the idea of having a family phone where once a child reached a certain age he/she was able to check the phone out. This would be a stepping stone in the process of the child getting his or her own phone. This phone could be checked out when going to practice, to a friend’s house, to the movies, etc when the child would potentially need to get a hold of someone. The phone would then be checked back in upon arrival at home.
The thought behind the checkout phone is this: the child would learn how to appropriately use the phone and realize that the phone is a privilege and not a right. What I mean by “appropriately use the phone” is that the child would learn the rules and boundaries of the phone. These rules and boundaries will most likely vary some depending on the family, but they should be concrete and in writing. By having them in writing the child cannot claim he or she didn’t know the rules. A few ideas to keep in mind and to talk about, and maybe incorporate into your family phone rules, is proper phone etiquette, the pros and cons of technology, and monitoring what goes on while the child has the phone. This process will help to set the child up for success once he or she is allowed to have a phone.
Hopefully this idea will help families make wise decisions about technology and encourage responsibility!
Until next week, Be Wise.
“Amy is like Oprah – she’s the neighbor you love who is very, very smart”— Parent of 14-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter
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