Cellphones and rules

Carmen - posted on 10/18/2013 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I have noticed on here a lot of you are worried or unable to control the use of cellphones in your children or wondering what the right age is to give a cellphone to your child, I am going to tell you how it works in my household simply cos I have 4 teenagers and a 5 yr old, my oldest is at Uni, he got his cellphone when he was 16 simply cos that was the rule, at 16 he can get a drivers license, and can go to parties with and only with adult supervision and he also got a Job an after school job, the cellphone is parental locked, that means there is a password or number code that has to be typed into it if other numbers are to be added, the only numbers that are on the phone are the school, my number, his dad's number, his bosses number and the home land line number, emergency numbers are free so they will always be available, why have I done this simply cos while he is under my roof he obeys my rules, schooling and homework/ Uni are more important that finding out who is dating who or whatever... He has chosen himself not to have a facebook page simply cos he is too busy to have one, that was his choice, my other child is almost 17 she got her cellphone at 16 as well, she knows she cant txt or do anything on it til homework is done and chores are done, when my kids come in after school all cellphones are handed to me, til their homework and chores are done, except my oldest he doesn't hand his cellphone in til after his job, because I have maintained strict rules in my since they were young, they don't seem to see homework as a chore or a burden, they know that if they want to get anywhere in life you need to study hard and achieve the highest of your ability, secondly the other option I gave them if they disobeyed the rules and ditched school and started acting out was the army, I am ex army, so I do run my house in routine and with army style rules, my kids don't resent me and a lot of the rules that I have in my house they have written or added to the already existing rules, they have respect, they are truthful and they the are the kindest natured kids around, they all grew up on a farm til recently about 2 yrs ago we had to move into the city cos I have extreme health problems and spend every 6 weeks in the hospital having operations. Because of the way I have bought my children up I know that they are able to maintain the house and look after each other when I am unwell, all the older ones know how to cook, they take over cleaning and maintaining the house when I am in the hospital, they also look out for each other, so to those out there who are having issues with your teen on the cellphone all the time, you need to implement strong rules, and if it means a star chart then do that, my kids have a chart ( my youngest a star chart) and they know if they complete the tasks set everyday at the end of the week when they get their pocket money, they can do what the want with it, but the amount of money they get is up to them if they don't do a task they lose part of their pocket money, its teaching them that if they want money they have to earn it, and that is what you learn in a job.

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Gena - posted on 10/19/2013

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I think the exact way, eventhough i dont have a teenager. But my husband and i said our phones are for calling when we arent at home,i do send an sms every now and then. I worked it out, we used to pay around 110franks eatch a month with the contract phone and now we pay around 30franks for both of us a month...so we save around 190franks eatch month...and thats quite some money!As you say, we use the internet on our computer and take photos with our camera,if i need to phone somebody i use the home phone because we can call for free. We also chose not to have facebook.Everybody must know for them selves what they want with the technology.I just see how other people are stuck to their iphones constantly checking whats new on facebook or sending eatch other pictures of what they just cooked or are eating.
I like to spend some of my free time on the internet and on here to read good advice and actualy learn from other mothers or give them advice.But other than that i prefer to play with my son and go for walks and be active without electronic.

Angela - posted on 10/19/2013

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When they first became popular, many parents in this country were just as keen for their kids to have mobile phones as the kids were to have them! It's basically some peace of mind knowing you can get in touch with your teenager, wherever they may be.

But then came the odd times when parents would say "Why weren't you answering your phone?" and the kids would say "It wasn't switched on - I had no credit so I didn't see the point!" But the phone isn't just for THEM to make calls - it's for US, the parents to be able to reach them! So an important part of the rules is that they should always have their phone switched on at times when they're away from their parents (regardless of whether they have credit) and, of course, that their phones should always be charged with sufficient power.

In fact, that's a reason why I'm not so keen on SmartPhones - they need a LOT of charging, because they use a lot of power. I use a very basic NOKIA - it doesn't do Internet connection or take photos - it doesn't need to. The charge lasts up to a week. The main purpose of a phone is to make & receive calls - something which seems to have been forgotten in all the technological advances. I have a small, digital camera for when I wish to take a photo, I'm never far away from my own desk top computer at home (or at my work place) if I need to send an e-mail etc .... I think the more functions a mobile phone can perform, the more it encroaches on one's LIFE.

I currently have a contract which is for the SIMcard only - I didn't get a "free" phone with my contract - so it's cheap! I can pull out of the contract at any time with only one month's notice. I pay £7.50p per month and get 250 minutes and 5,000 texts - that does me nicely! This type of contract is ideal for older teenagers who have a sense of responsibility - for everyone else - I'd just say use Pay-As-You-Go!

Many UK phone networks do great Pay-As-You-Go deals with "rewards" like extra texts, minutes or other credits for customers who top up regularly.

I think it's also important with kids to establish REASONS as well as RULES when they say they'd like their own phone. For the teenager or pre-teen who turns his/her nose up at the cheaper, more basic phone offered to them (because they wanted an iPhone or something) we need to say: "Do you want a phone to make calls and send/receive texts? Because that's the fundamental reason for having a phone! If you just want a phone to 'pose' with and impress your friends, then you're not ready for one yet!"

It's neither necessary nor wise to have one's phone switched on whilst in school - this is only right - simply because adults aren't allowed to use their own phones at work (unless the job depends on this in which case the employer will provide a phone).

Use your phone, enjoy your phone and pay the running costs for having your phone - but don't let it rule your life!

Gena - posted on 10/19/2013

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By us a cell phone is called Handy
I totaly agree with the pre paid system.My husband and i also only use pre pay (we dont have smart phones because we dont want them) We had contract phones about 3years ago and its crazy how much money we can save with the pre paid.

Carmen - posted on 10/18/2013

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we have pre pay phones in NZ that is what my kids have, but they aren't fancy phones, they are what I call basic phones, they aren't Iphones or anything like that simply cos I cant afford one of those, we have Vodafone over here, and where we live it is the best choice for them, as that is the best service we get, they have to plans on the prepay phones like best mate or 5000 txts for $12 a month which is what my kids have, txt is just easier for them, but I do have an 0800 number they can ring for free to my house which is charged to my landline to call if they are ever in trouble or have no credit on their phone and need a lift or a ride. But they know that it is only for that - lucky they are very money wise and know how to budget, especially my youngest all money he gets given goes straight to his money bin, he doesn't take it out it just stays there til the end of the year then he takes it out and buys what he wants with it.

Ev - posted on 10/18/2013

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I would have to say that you have it figured out and to me it does not matter if its based on military background or not; you got to have that fine line drawn and the rules to go with it. My kids had rules and expectations to live up to. They hard to earn things to get them or it had to be on their Birthday list or Christmas list. No exceptions. As for cellphones neither has ever had the desire to have one. My daughter had a go phone her dad got her for a while but now even married her husband has the phone not her. She hates talking on them. My son does not care if he has one and he is a teen too. Both had to use the computer in the main living area where I could moniter their use of it. Both had chores. My son earns money for doing chores, $10 a month. YOU ARE NOT READING IT WRONG. $10 DOLLARS He knows I do not have the money to do more than that. He is happy to get that much and is learning to save for what he wants (video games and equipment for the systems). He has also learned to curb his playing time on his own. He is the one that also initiates a lot of things to do with me. So all in all, I think we have all done the rules and such with our own styles and have turned out good kids.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/18/2013

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Actually, Angela, as more and more parents find out about the overage charges for texting/calling over the limit...pay as you go plans are becoming more prevalent.

My kids have never had contract phones, nor do my husband & I. Why pay for a 2 year contract? Having prepaid or pay as you go plans is way cheaper, I've NEVER had to pay for an over use, my kids (when I was providing minutes) knew that if they blew through the 90 minutes/ month, they'd have to get a refill card, because I only put time on at the beginning of the month.

As they've gotten older, they've started wanting more from their phones, at which time I let them pick out a nicer phone (still don't have smartphones, and probably never will), and when they have jobs, they're expected to pay the monthly plan fee, which is $35.

I have a very nice (NOT smart) phone, with a touch screen, unlimited talk, text & data, on a major network, and pay $35/month. Again...LOL...why contract???

And as for the rest, while I do agree with Carmen's methods, I have to say that it's only common sense. If you don't want your kid using the electronics at inappropriate times, set those limits up front, and enforce them! (Must be coming from a military background...LOL)

I thought my parents were hardasses when I was growing up...now, 20 years after I've had kids I see that my parents rocked. They had rules, and we were expected to follow them, or else. Raised my own the same way, and lo and behold...LOL...no hooligans!

Keep it up, Carmen.

Angela - posted on 10/18/2013

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An interesting post Carmen. In the UK (where I live) lots of kids have mobile phones (as we call them!).

A massive part of allowing a child to have a phone here is NOT to get one on contract (monthly deal). Not a lot of children have a contract phone, they're too young to get credit or sign up to a monthly deal. I once worked for a mobile phone network that supplied both Pay-As-You-Go AND monthly contract deals. Trust me, the number of kids that went over their package on a monthly deal paid for by parents was ridiculous! Most sensible parents just let them have a prepayment phone!

So kids are invariably using Pay-As-You-Go phones (prepayment). The idea is that they pay for their own phone credit top-ups (vouchers are available from most shops & stores). In fact, in many cases kids pay for their own phones as well.

My daughter had a phone from her 12th birthday. None of my kids had phones that came with monthly packages and monthly payments until they got them for themselves when they were earning.

Why aren't Americans just giving their kids prepayment phones?

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