Cell Phone or No Cell Phone?
You love your new smartphone, but is your 10-year-old mature enough to handle one? Tweens these days see cell phones not only as fun gadgets, but as status symbols, too. Many of your tween's friends probably already have one.
Cell phones help you keep in touch with your child and are great for emergencies, but they come with risks. Many parents have horror stories about cell phone bills with $1,000 surprises, the result of excess minutes, texting or downloads. And a phone that keeps you in touch with your tween can also put him or her in touch with strangers.
Since tweens are still too young to predict the consequences of many of their actions, it's a good idea to wait until your child is older before buying an Internet-ready smartphone. If you decide to get your tween a phone, talk to her about rules such as who she can call or accept calls from. If your child's phone allows texting, tell her she may only text friends and family. Talk to her about the dangers of inappropriate texts. Consider an unlimited texting plan or a prepaid phone; many children send hundreds of text messages a month, and you don't want any surprises on your bill. Ask your service provider what parental controls are available, and let your child know you'll be monitoring her cell phone use.
What constitutes a healthy bedtime? Click ahead to learn about another limit tweens still need.