Does your child have a phone? Are there rules? Time limits? Text spot checks?
I once wrote about how different it is today than twenty or thirty years ago when there was ONE family phone in the hallway. If someone called you, first and foremost you never knew who was going to answer it. Could be a sibling, mom or worst of all, DAD. It was tethered to the wall so any thought of privacy was completely out of the realm of reality. And you typically had a time limit of anything under thirty minutes.
Flash forward to 2015. Kids have their own phone. In their room. With the door closed. Are texting friends all day long. Can access God knows what on-line. And are completely unmonitored.
Are you OK with that? Is your mind set that of “It’s just a different generation.”
Well. It’s not about a different generation. It’s about respecting technology. It’s about respecting rules. It’s about mom and dad defining structure and limits. It’s about your impressionable, naive, child not having carte blanche when it comes to access to the world. It’s about parents monitoring their child’s behavior and looking for teaching moments. It’s about establishing healthy habits and remembering that the phone is a privilege not a right.
If you do a quick spot check of your kid’s texts you’ll likely be shocked at their approach to relationships, people, current events, music, and their use of language. It will demonstrate to you how much they have to learn and why it’s important that you are guiding them rather than leaving them to figure it out for themselves. It’s not about “eves dropping, being big brother or invading privacy.” This is about teaching, mentoring and guiding.
My ex-wife and I are instituting an “all phones on the counter” at 7:30 pm with hourly limits on weekends. In my house, this includes me, although I do have a little more access since I use my phone for business. In the first two days it’s already made a difference and I anticipate more. What I’ve initially seen of youth is that they’re obsessive. Phones can be remarkably useful, helpful and a great means of staying connected. They can also addictive and a lousy baby sitter. I personally believe that at some point there need to be rules and regulations established by those in charge of the house. Hopefully, that’s you.
Do you have rules for phone use in your house? Would love to hear what you’re doing.