We couldn't imagine our lives without our smartphones, and our teens are no different.
They're obsessed with Instagram, Snapchat and a hundred other apps you've never heard of.
While it's handy to be able to reach them, most parents have concerns about their teens having a phone.
Here are a few tips to help you manage your teen's mobile phone use:
1. Use the phone to teach them about managing their money and responsibility
If your teen wants a new phone, then tell them they'll have to save half or pay for credit out of their own pocket,
Pay-as-you-go is the best option, to prevent them bankrupting themselves. Likewise if they break it, they pay for repairs.
2. Draw up a phone contract
This allows you draft rules for using the phone, such as access to passwords and hours of usage.
Remember to let your teen make their suggestions as well; that way, they're more likely to accept the rules.
3. If your teen has been misbehaving, confiscate the phone or restrict usage
It can be hard to make a stand, and they'll probably say they hate you; but they'll respect you more in the long run.
4. Make sure they know they can speak to you about any issues
Unfortunately, mobile phones can be used as a bullying tool by some teens. Your teen could also be under peer pressure to send explicit images.
Make sure your teenager is aware of the dangers, and knows to speak up if they are sent anything distressing.
Warn them that if they use their phone to bully someone else, there will be severe consequences.
5. Monitor app usage
Your teen will probably use their phone mostly to talk to friends or play games, but they also have a host of apps at their fingertips.
Agree in advance which apps they can use, and let them know that talking to strangers is off-limits.
6. Start them off with a simple model
If you're not sure whether your teen is old enough for a smartphone, start them off with a hand-me-down or the simplest model you can find.
If they are willing to look after this phone and follow the rules, you can consider trusting them with a better model in the future.
7. Make off-limits areas for phones
Hate them texting at the dinner table, or using their phone all night in their room?
Set certain "no phone" times and areas in place. They'll be forced to make real conversation - for once!
8. Instill respect for school rules
Your teen may be allowed a phone at home, but if their school forbids them, they must obey this.
9. Checking in with you
If your teen is going out to a friend's house or an event, set a time at which they must call you, to let you know they are OK.
The phone should be used to update you as often as their social media!
10. Remember, your teenager won't use a phone the same way as you do
So, if you are checking their calls and texts, remember to look at any other messaging accounts, games or apps they may be using.
If you need extra help in setting these boundaries and rules, please contact our team!