I must admit I feel lost without my cellphone, tablet and laptop. I know. I know. I shouldn’t be so dependent because I know in a few years I am going to be yelling at my children to not text at the dinner table. The questions I hear many times is when is it acceptable to give your child their first cellphone or other acceptable mobile device and what are some rules that should be enforced?
When I first started working back at the Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club back in 2005, (I know that’s a little far back for some people.) I had just had my first cellphone for a little over 6 months. I still was only able to use it before 9pm and NEVER at the dinner table. Oh and let me come home with a grade less than a B, My phone would magically disappear for a month. By the year of 2006 I was watching 6-9 year olds playing on their phones instead of playing games in the facility. It had gotten to the point where there was a rule that banned the use of cellphones at the club. That was when I vowed that if I ever have children they were NEVER getting a phone at that site. Well three kids later and better technology I started to reconsider that decision.
My son will be going to the 1st grade next year. All throughout Kindergarten I have walked him to and from the bus stop because we live in an apartment complex and the kids are dropped off at the front of the complex. (It is a pain sometimes!) Throughout his kindergarten year I would see this little boy in the first grade get off the bus everyday and take his cellphone out his book bag. At first I was like what in the world is he doing with a cellphone at that age. One day my son and him walked together after school, (of course with me not too far behind.) and the little boy pulled the phone out as usual and dialed his mother’s phone number! I was a little surprised because I didn’t even think little one’s at that age could remember phone numbers. (Then again they can remember every song on the radio and every embarrassing moment that happens to you.) Apparently his mother gets off the same time the children get off school and she is always ten minutes later than the bus so she has him call everyday so she can be with him vocally while he walk to their apartment. I think that is pretty cool.
After many debates and going over pros and cons, me and my husband decided to test our son out with a cellphone JUST FOR GAMES! He actually did pretty good but I still saw how he could just sit for hours and not do anything but play games on the phone. I had to even tell him not to CROSS THE STREET WHILE PLAYING ON THE PHONE because he wasn’t paying attention. This year his great-grandmother surprised him with a tablet. That was when I decided to come up with a few rules.
1.) No cellphone or tablet after 8pm. (Bed time is at 9pm.)
2.) No technology during meal times.
3.) NO PLAYING ON YOUR TABLET/PHONE WHILE OUTSIDE!!! That is time to play and have fun with toys that goes OUTSIDE!!!
4.) NO FACEBOOK, TWITTER, YOUTUBE, ETC! I use to let him get on YouTube until I typed in Elmo for him and Elmo was singing a song about pimps and hoes. (Some people are just sick!)
5.) Kid friendly apps only
6.) SCHOOL COMES FIRST!! As soon as I see low scores or poor progress……EVERYTHING is gone!!
Theses are just my rules that me and my husband enforce with our children. You can use them as a guide or chose not to even give rules. These are just some helpful tips for curious parents.