You finally gave in and bought your teen the cell phone they’ve been begging for!  As your child gets older and is out of the house more, a cell phone can be a very important tool to keep in touch and stay safe.  Before you give your teen their first phone, it is important to sit down and set up cell phone rules for teens.  Here are the who, what, when, where, and why’s that every teen should know about getting their own cell phone.

How To Set Up Cell Phone Rules For Teens

Before you give your teen their first phone, it is important to sit down and set up cell phone rules for teens and openly discuss the guidelines for safety.

Here are 8 ways you can save money on back to school clothes.

Who

  • Make sure that each contact is a real friend or family member – Your children will be eager to hand out their number to anybody and everybody who has a cell phone, whether or not they are good friends with that person.  
  • Do not respond to a number you don’t know – Anyone can hide behind a screen and pretend to be someone else.  Only trade contact information when face to face.  If you receive an unsolicited text, it’s spam and should be deleted.  
  • Never broadcast your information – Online especially, but also in person.  Make sure your children are not posting their cell phone number or location on social media.  Disable location-sharing in apps.

What

  • Everything you send can become public – Never write a message or take a picture that you would not want forwarded to everyone in your class, your principal, and your parents.  If you wouldn’t want Grandma to see it, you probably shouldn’t be sending it!
  • Talk to your child about sexting – Even photographs that are “temporary” (through apps like Snapchat) can be copied and forwarded.  Possession or distribution of sexual images of minors is illegal.  If you receive a sexual image, immediately delete it, block the number, and inform a parent. These are one of those cell phone rules for teens that are important to remember.
How To Set Up Cell Phone Rules For Teens To Keep Them Safe Click To Tweet

Where

  • Do not use your phone during school hours – Your phone should be off or on silent as well as in your backpack during school hours.  Time spent at school should be for learning, plain and simple.
  • Put the phone down while at the dinner table – This is probably the source of parents’ gripes that younger generations do not know how to hold conversations.  Uninterrupted family time not only builds your relationships, but it also teaches your children the arts of eye contact and conversation.  And it teaches your teen that it is rude to be on your phone – whether that be midst texting conversation with a friend or simply scrolling through Facebook – while you are holding a conversation with someone else.
  • Never use your phone while driving – If your teen is old enough to be behind the wheel, the most important thing they need to know about getting their own phone is to never use it while driving.  11 teens die every day as a result of texting while driving!  Put your phone somewhere out of sight, and do not check it until your car is safely parked.
  • How To Set Up Cell Phone Rules For Teens To Keep Them Safe

When

  • Have a life – Nomofobia is the fear of being away from your phone.  People who are constantly connected to their mobile device actually become anxious when they are away from it for too long.  Do not compromise your daily routine to use your cell phone, and do not feel obliged to respond immediately to every text or email your receive.  It can wait!
  • Homework time comes first – When your teen comes home from school, it is best if they put their phone somewhere away and out of sight while they do their homework.  Make it clear that school work is most important.  

Why

  • Safety first – Remind your child that the most important reason they now have a cell phone is for safety purposes.  As they are now older and will be out of the house more, they should use their cell phone first and foremost to keep in touch with parents and be only a phone call away in the event of an emergency.

It’s natural to be nervous about giving your child so much responsibility!  While it’s important to set up cell phone rules for teens, trust that your child is now a young adult and will use their new gadget like one.  But it doesn’t hurt to remind them of your guidelines every once in awhile!

Before you give your teen their first phone, it is important to sit down and set up cell phone rules for teens and openly discuss the guidelines for safety.

Jane Jozefowicz
Jane Jozefowicz
Jane Jozefowicz is a rising sophomore at the University of Chicago, where she studies Linguistics and Computer Science.  Jane plays trombone and lacrosse and is the biggest animal lover you'll meet!